The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy

written by: April 28, 2011
Release Date: April 8, 2011


The Middle East is an odd name for a band, especially for such a calm one, and one whose music doesn’t fit one single genre; if forced the genre would be gospel-orchestral-ambient-folk-hybrid. Their debut, I Want That You Are Always Happy, doesn’t need to be intellectually understood to be appreciated. In fact, the ideal listening mentality is to not think at all. The album works like audible Ambien with its mellow, intoxicating flow. It might be the best sleep one could possibly have.

The Middle East hails from Queenlands, Australia. The actual Middle East region seems to have little in common with Australia, but the name fits the band’s eclectic nature. The Middle East’s seven members employ a range of sound that is both expected and unexpected. The result is songs with their own individual character. They flow into each other well, which makes the listening experience feel like a journey as opposed to a quick slog through a collection of singles.

The album has an interesting structure with the first couple of songs falling into the band’s more ambient range followed by a middle that goes for a quicker, folk tone. The last three come back down to the Middle East’s softer side; although they could use some trimming, they finish the album out on a relaxing note.

The tempo never gets past a moderate speed, but the band utilizes an impressive amount of instruments to spice things up. Strings, flutes, vocal harmonies, trumpets, electric guitar, acoustic guitars, drums and others imbue the album a pleasing collection of tones.

The band’s subtlety in sound is also evident in the album’s lyrics. Rohin Jones and Jordan Ireland are the band’s resident writers, and they wring out quality material from their relationships with both others and God, their most overtly religious song being, “Jesus Came to My Birthday Party.” While one may think it’s a testimonial for Jesus Christ, it’s much more subtle than the name implies. Going from these lyrics, “That was a long time ago/And I haven’t seen him in a while/Now I’m down in the city/And I think I/Seen him in the eyes/Of the strangers that pass,” one can see it’s more about finding and losing a religion than shaking hands with Christ at a bitching party.

Making soft music without becoming dull is difficult, but The Middle East maintains their hushed tones without boring the listener with subtle instrumentation and lyrics. The band makes full use of the talents of its members to craft an album that moves organically from song to song and remains entertaining throughout. Best of all their arrangements are delivered with real feeling that’s easy to hear.

The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy Tracklist:

  1. “Black Death 1349”
  2. “My Grandmother Was Pearl Hall”
  3. “As I Go To See Janey”
  4. “Jesus Came to My Birthday Party”
  5. “Land of the Bloody Unknown”
  6. “Very Many”
  7. “Sydney to Newcastle”
  8. “Mount Morgan”
  9. “Months”
  10. “Dan’s Silverleaf”
  11. “Hunger Song”
  12. “Ninth Avenue Reverie”
  13. “Deep Water”
  14. “Mount Morgan End”
  15. “My Baby (Bonus Track)”