A little bit of mudslinging, a lot of emotion, heaps of angst and a few broken hearts encompass Springfield, New Jersey’s emo-rock quartet ‘Midtown’ on their April release, “Become What You Hate.” The sophomore LP is on MCA Records after a switch from indie subsidiary Drive-Thru Records.
It was not an agreeable split for ‘Midtown’ from Drive-Thru however, as is evident in the lyrics and the words of the band, (lead singer) and (bassist) Gabe Saporta, (guitarist) Heath Saraceno, (drummer) Rob Hitt, and (guitarist) Tyler Rann in recent interviews.
In a recent Absolutepunk.com interview Saporta and Rann said, “Drive-Thru owners have been withholding royalty fees from their bands and stuffing it in their pockets.”
“I have four dollars in my wallet right now. But you know what? I don’t care because Richard’s [Reines, co-owner of Drive-Thru] bed is worth 15 grand,” said half-joking Rann.
Although the Drive-Thru logos appear alongside MCA on the CD jacket, ‘Midtown’ lays their feelings about their former indie label down in the form of the record’s title track, the first song on the disc. While never calling out Drive-Thru by name in the lyrics, “How could I have been so blind / How could I ignore so many signs / Especially when my friends warned me about your deceptive side / And your friendship was a lie,” are an extended middle finger to the label executives.
The band switches from trash talking to the honest neo-love songs that have made the band a household name in the indie-punk genre with “Get It Together.” Redone from a previously released CD sampler the band put over the winter, “Get It Together” is Saporta’s tale of a girl needing to figure out her situation instead of faking her happiness.
“Like a Movie” is the perfect summertime cruising song and the catchy chorus will have you slapping the steering wheel with its upbeat tempo.
Saporta’s voice, which is Elvis Costello without the British accent, is smooth throughout the disc, but is highlighted in “Perfect” and “You Should Know.” Rann and Saraceno add background vocals to create harmonies that can be equaled by very few pop-rock bands.
‘Midtown’ tells the story of their own existence with “In The Songs,” explaining their meteoric rise from playing house shows just a few years ago. The song thanks family and friends for the support, and even pats their own backs for being like brothers.
The album finishes with “Find Comfort In Yourself,” which includes the inspiring and dramatic message, “Find comfort in yourself and know that what you have is not what you are.”
“Become What You Hate” is a 35-minute audio masterpiece from this Jersey super group. ‘Midtown’ has huge potential and stays true to their roots while beginning a new chapter with their sophomore effort.