When the Whites Turn Red – Midnight Mother (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

For a large portion of its long existence the broadly termed “prog” genre has largely been about dexterous rock music anchored down by the fluid sounds of keyboards and synths. It seems long overdue therefore, that in some quarters there would be music-makers who would eventually flip the priorities and make music that is essential electro-rock shaped into progressive landscapes. Midnight Mother does just that.

When the Whites Turn Red is a four track offering of largely instrumental music formed around all manner of keyboard sounds from delicate pianos to bubbling synths to cinematic washes, all backed up by the regular rock arsenal of guitar, bass and drums. So this is less an exercise in electronica more a rock band using the keyboard sounds as their main weapon of attack.

Now I Am Different is an opening salvo of dense grooves and chiming futuristic hypnotics, a brooding platform which builds in intensity into an unlikely alliance between hard dance and cerebral electronic rock. In contrast I Felt Love feels lighter, more airy, the guitar laying down grunge grooves for the synths to dance around, a song built on unexpected changes of pace and direction but exhibiting those Vangelisian tones that has long been held in high esteem by those in the progressive world.

She Shifted adds some half-heard, disembodied vocals balancing with some angelic choral responses, dexterous guitars and chiming piano and the whole thing ends with the staccato beats and wandering musical lines of It Was Beautiful. When The Whites Turn Red feels like a new chapter in the story of prog, a hybrid between clever dance sounds and intricate rock urges. If you ever thought of prog as a dirty word then this is what you need to set the record straight.

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