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Margan, Eric & The Red Lions: Midnight Book

"Loosely based on a personal relationship, the 11-track collection chronicles with both whimsy and serious reflection the emotional rollercoaster of an unforgettable romance from the 'love at first sight' moment through falling out of love and the aftermath."

22-year old Eric Margan is a classically-trained musician who apparently has a very wide palate of musical tastes. Midnight Book is an eclectic conglomerate of indie/folk, jazz, and even chamber music. As quoted above, this is a conceptual CD chronicling a May-December romance. Although the tracks are extremely lyric-driven, Margan's support band "The Red Lions" play a plethora of instruments as diverse as vibraphone, harpsichord, celeste, oboe, mandolin, violin, cello; just to name a few. This highly orchestrated approach lends the music a very symphonic quality which creates an interesting juxtaposition with Margan's crooning and/or folk singer approach. Vocally, Margan can sound at times like a Michael Bublé type jazz crooner and other times he reminds me of a less nasally sounding Colin Meloy (The Decemberists). However, any parallels between this disc and any of the excellent releases by the above-mentionned band can be quickly allayed. Midnight Book rarely ventures outside the realm of the ballad, and never explores any true symphonic progressive territories. There are a few beautiful songs ( "Bay Of Naples" , " Disintegrate" and "Down The Water" being the standout cuts) but there's very little in the way of any faster tempoed songs (with maybe the exception of "Old Man River" and the Beatles-like "The Blues Will Have To Do"). One has to assume that rage never crept into this relationship as there are no truly angry songs, mostly melancholic ones. This definitely tips the musical scales of Midnight Book to one side only, which may deter some potential listeners.

Yet another disc that I wanted to enjoy a lot more than I actually did. This one came with so much hyperbolic press releases that I was expecting something to rival the above-mentionned The Decemberists. Alas, this is no "The Crane Wife"or "The Hazards Of Love". It's a decent disc and Mr Margan is a truly talented artist, however he may be seeking a different target audience than the likes of this reviewer, as many parts of this disc left me rather lukewarm.

Track Listing:

  1. An Ocean Of Blue
  2. Bay Of Naples
  3. You Are A Ghost
  4. I'll Never Know
  5. A Speckled Mind
  6. Disintegrate
  7. Old Man River
  8. Down The Water
  9. The Blues Will Have To Do
  10. Interlude
  11. Midnight Book
  12. Without The Sun

Added: May 20th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Language: english

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