Melbourne’s premier retro-futurists might just be smelling a whiff of the big-time with the release of their latest album The Crystal Axis and who could blame them. A mix of sizeable hooks and a carefree, proudly unselfconscious attitude has propelled peers Friendly Fires and Phoenix into uncharted and unexpected levels of success so who’s to say the same can’t happen to Midnight Juggernauts.
The whole of the album is permeated by a slightly campty air of B-movie Sci Fi, not least in Vincent Vendetta’s detached, deadpan narratives. The doom-laden organ of ‘New Technology’ is furnished by some Muse-eques arpeggios and depending on the listener’s mood the track is either slightly schlocky fun or irksome cheese. ‘Lara Versus the Savage Pack’, meanwhile channels the Bolan-esque stomp and cultured yelp of Supergrass but shares it’s adherence to the groove with the remainder of the set. ‘Dynasty’ doesn’t quite match the tongue in cheek theatrics of the better numbers and as such trips over into being too cheesy to be enjoyable.
When the band really hit their stride such as on ‘Vital Signs’ they can seem pretty unstoppable; and it’s then that that the lyrics stop jarring and become part of the fun and there’s no choice but to get swept up in the bleeps and whirrs and dance like an idiot.
What they certainly share with their peers is an insistence on the slickest production, not a note is out of place, however this can somewhat wearing when listening to the record in one go the lack of dynamic range is pretty apparent.
Midnight Juggernauts are far more effective when they stay closer to their dancier roots rather than trying to slow things down or rely more heavily on guitars and the attempts to branch out into other genres are inclined to fall flat as on ‘Cannibal Freeway’. However when they keep it simple you realise that this is hugely enjoyable fare so long as you just turn it up and don’t take it too seriously for after all this is music for the body, not the mind.