We first featured Orlando’s Abandon The Midwest in 2018 when we reviewed Rides Again. We’re so happy to have them back on CPRW again with their excellent new EP, Straight To VHS. With all that’s going on in the world currently I missed that they even had a new EP coming out so, when I saw it, I was pleasantly surprised and it went straight to my review list.
Straight To VHS begins with Bright Lights. On my first listen, I’m instantly reminded of what it was about Abandon The Midwest that I fell in love with in the first place. The band has wonderful dual vocals from BJ and Matt, BJ singing in a clean pop style and Matt with a gruff and gravelly tone. The two styles work so well together. This adds so much energy to their sound and I get swept away with it everytime. Bright Lights is about realising that you’re not living your life the right way and looking for a way to improve things. On the second song, Mistreat Yourself, Matt takes lead vocal duties for himself. This is a more mid tempo track that you will lose your voice shouting along too. From the opening lines of “you’re afraid you won’t amount to anything” you will be involved in the song. It follows a similar theme to Bright Eyes, realising you’re not looking after yourself and shutting yourself away. The only thing I have left to say about this song is that it’s easily one of my favourites of the 2020.
You Don’t Want Me Around begins slowly before becoming another great big fun sing-along. It’s got a pop melody that’ll get stuck in your head quickly and it won’t be long before you’re singing along with the band. I was a bit surprised that Abandon The Midwest didn’t use this song as the lead single for the EP as it’s so wonderfully accessible and a great example of what to expect from the band. Straight To VHS is completed with the song Skyline. The track has more of a Ramonescore feel to the song, albeit with gruffer vocals. The buzzing guitars and simple drum beat that drives the song forward is great. The chorus is where the song really shines, Matt’s vocals take the lead but are brilliantly harmonised with by BJ. This extra layer adds a lot to the sound. I’m always a big fan of this kind of thing when I’m listening to music. Skyline is about returning to the same place over and over again because it’s a really good place. There is something great about having a place you can always go to and knowing you’re going to have a good time.
In short, Straight To VHS is four brilliant songs that you need to listen to. It’s a fun EP for singing along to with your friends. What more could you possibly want?