MIDRAKE: Self-titled: CD

From the first song, I could detect a hint of an accent in the singer, and sure enough, these guys are Swiss! It pains me to do this as I know that the Swiss and Swedes are endlessly different and have several countries between them, but I hear quite a bit of Millencolin in this band. I just hate boiling a band down to the closest pings on the pop punk radar, both geographically and musically. But, on the other hand, they fall in line tightly with the likes of Teenage Bottlerocket, The Lillingtons, and The Methadones. The vocals on “The Swallows of Colmar” totally borrow from Dan Adriano, and that’s a big win for me: super melodic pop punk jams with gang harmonies. There’s some interestingly bright and biting guitar work on the track “Hoverboards and Guitars.” I gravitate to that song most because it operates outside the standard, sugary singalong tropes of pop punk. They’ve got a bit more gravitas than your run of the mill band from that subgenre that helps set them apart. Though Midrake is not exempt, it really helps a lot that they’re not grasping at the coattails of songs about girls and drinking. I could imagine this making an appearance on many backyard barbeques and road trip mixes this summer.

 –Kayla Greet (Monster Zero, monsterzerorecords.com)