Gert Hulshof, DPRP
Hardly modest and certainly not midgets are the four guys from the band with the peculiar sounding name Modest Midget. This is a band that can stand out proud for making their debut album is real fun listening album. Collectively MM is a four piece band with Tristan Hupe: (keyboards & vocals), Artis Orubs (drums), Lionel Ziblat (guitars & vocals) and Richard Zoer (bass guitar & vocals). In making this album they have had musical assistance of five other musicians: Vera van der Bie (violin), Ilse Eijsink (clarinet), Oene van Geel (viola), Emiel de Jong (clarinet, saxophones & vocals), and Bas Wiegers (violin & vocals)
The album starts out with a title called Follow The Noise and this is exactly what it sounds like, following the noise of a carnival show. Following the noise then brings us to a steaming rock song, reminding me of Neil Young's classic Rockin’ In The Free World which flows into a jazzy break back again rocking further until we meet the second jazzy break. All together a straight rock and roll song with a few nice breaks. All it needs now is some airtime on a radio show. The next track brings us to a different Modest Midget. A strong melody line played with a number of more classical oriented musical instruments like the violin and here the band experiment with different styles in music in just a little over 3 minutes. Nonetheless the melody stays ever present making the song enjoyable and one not affected by the different musical styles.
Coffee From Yesterday is an instrumental track in the veins of former super groups like The Nice, Focus and Exception. Classic rock at its best, the only annoying bit to me was the sound of the drums, maybe a little too much up front. Back From My Trip again is a song in the classic rock sphere, this time vocals have been added. Again enjoyable music, although lyrically they could do better. Which brings us to Home Seek and almost instantly I feel myself going back to the "Flower Power" era. The song reminds me very much of music by the famous Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, maybe a bit of Simon & Garfunkel and definitely going into a Beatlesque sound. Here I Go Again rocking this time with a ever present retro feel to it, influenced by The Yardbirds maybe or other late sixties bands. Good chorus lines and together with Contemporary Ache could do very well in pop charts, creating a broader audience for this band. A lot of distorted guitars, and yet again the drum sound is too present. Definitely a point of attention.
Going on with Baby, lyrically very odd although with a good melody. Almost like chamber music. The next track is very experimental, theatrical music, with way to many changes in the song and therefore becomes almost too difficult to listen to. After four spins I still didn’t dig the song. Jorge … is absolutely hard to get for me at least.
They continue with Buy Me!, a straight on rock and roll track. Evolution returns to the experimental, theatrical, using cello and violin, although easier listening than Jorge…. I Came, I Saw, I Left is an instrumental track, guitar driven and influenced by Dutch band Het Goede Doel, I think, as it reminded me of some of their music. The Last Straw completes the CD with a retro 60’s psychedelic feel to it, also a good song with a strong melody line.
I would say overall this is a very good debut album by a band capable of playing various musical styles. The album has a retro feel all over, even in the straight forward songs or the more experimental ones. You could argue about the music being progressive rock: it is rock music and considering the different styles combined into enjoyable songs, considering the longest song is not even 5:30. But they have made progressive music with a new refreshing edge. You could call this "retrogressive" prog rock for the definite retro feel.
I have enjoyed the CD very much and certainly would like to hear more of this band. The music may well appeal to a broader audience than just the prog field.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10