"Cypress Ave."

By Lord Randall

When the promo one-sheet for a band employs both the term “fruity fresh” and “sludge”, I instinctively either find myself baring fang and ready to destroy – at least in print – the album, or in the fetal position, blasting GRIEF or ATOMIC ROOSTER while whimpering at the fate of music today. 

‘Tonight’ leads off "Cypress Ave." by Kansas trio THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN, and it’s a headfuck…though not necessarily in a good way. Syrupy, sticky guitars seem to ramble around, as the vocals occasionally stumble into them ala drunken, badly-driven bumper cars at the state fair, but there’s something that keeps me listening through to the end. The bassline the beginning of ‘Red Eyed Junkie Queen’ is too reminiscent of ‘Would?’ by ALICE IN CHAINS, and so far, I wouldn’t. I’m noticing a pattern here, only it’s not appealing, THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN working that soft part/loud part/soft part/louder part, etc. method like a Wichita streetwalker running a $5 blowjob special. It comes clear with ‘Glenn’s Promise’ that TMGT wants to be CLUTCH so bad they can hardly stand it. From the Neil Fallon on Quaaludes delivery of the vocals to the by-now-boring sound of the guitars, I’m now five tunes deep, and I’m already thinking of what I’ll listen to after to purge my ears. Further up the road, there’s a glimmer of hope, ‘Black Wave’ and ‘I Can’t Let You Go’ showing a decent enough blues sensibility, but it’s too little too late. 

The thing that’s so frustrating about these guys is that there is talent, and if they could ever sonically crawl out of a certain space-exploring, Earth-rocking band’s pockets, they could be a force to be reckoned with. They’re probably fun live, but for now, I’ll pass. Next!