After Midnight Project – You Belong EP

April Fool’s day began in the 1500’s when the Julian Calendar switched to the Gregorian and people still tried to celebrate New Year’s on the 1st. Now it’s become a day of pranks, where people get made fools of. Which is ironically, and perhaps appropriately, the day that After Midnight Project decided to release their eight-song EP, entitled You Belong.

The first title track, You Belong, starts off with a watery glitch ripple sound and it’s by far the best, and maybe the only, part of this little production that makes you really tune in. For starters, it’s instrumental, and sounds like some sort of experiment, more so because it’s coming from some LA-based radio/pop band. Maybe the boys drank too much coffee, heard an Amon Tobin song and actually tried to use the studio gear themselves.

The next song, Fire in the Sky, erupts rudely into the obnoxious Placebo-esque styling’s of Jason Evigan, asking if there’s a reason he’s alive. Well, the reason he’s alive probably isn’t to make music, if this is what they’re coming up with.

Let Go delves into their biographies with hard knock lyrics revealing their troubled lives: “Mom and dad weren’t perfect and the world was never clean.” Wow, so glad these martyrs can overcome mean parents and litter bugs to share their experiences with all of us.

When you’re producer is John Feldman, whose claim to fame includes such profound and artistic revolutionaries like Hilary Duff and Good Charlotte, you pretty much know what’s coming next.

Coming from Los Angeles, Evigan with Spencer Bastian on guitar, Christian Meadows on guitar too and Ryan Folden on drums (according to AMP legend, Folden was scrounged up by Pappa Roach, during the midst of legal troubles). Last summer the band played Warp Tour and are apparently known for an energetic live show. Picture four guys in really tight jeans jumping around, tossing their straightened hair and swinging their guitars around their skinny waists and you probably have the right idea. It’s all so flavorlessly and banal that even writing about this is feeling insipid.

Keep My Feet on the Ground is at least slightly interesting instrumentally with layered guitars and eerie vibes, but then what sounds like a drum machine kicks in (don’t they have a live drummer?) and then luckily the song is over.

Open Door starts off with some Tokyo-style energy beeping and fast-paced percussion, but it’s so god-damned formulaic. There’s nothing new here. This band could be any other late 90’s radio band with a polished male vocalist. The repetitive chorus and the bland verses…

You have to give the last 2 songs credit, Beautiful World has melodic potential and somewhere in there the guitar is actually kind of ear-catching, if they ran with that and didn’t put such high-stock in pop song structure and humiliating lyrics.

And then the thing ends with The Otherside. The vocals pan around which is kind of neat, there’s tempo changes with heavy drum breakdowns that at least almost freshen up this shit, and the guitar riffs are alright, there’s a synth buried in there somewhere, which could be cool if you isolated it and brought a completely different sound to it….I don’t know. It ends, abruptly, and then…that’s it. The radio and teenagers will lap this up. People who enjoy quality music will probably never even knew this EP happened, and I kind of wish I was one of those

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