For a long time after the Middle East ceased to be an active band, I tracked the movements of its various members. Not too closely, nothing too geographical, just a general eye cast over their respective projects to see who was doing what. Rohin only ever managed a song or two but one of those songs was a work of extreme merit and potentially even the one of the best songs of 2012. Bree played a bunch of instruments in Matt Corby’s band and released an EP and it seems like there might be an album on the way. Mark didn’t take too long to release his own full LP under the moniker of The Starry Field and by now he’s almost overdue for new music again but his time is split between engineering other people’s records and running his own label. It’s Jordan we’re here to talk about though because Jordan seems to have been the most prolific of the team since they called it a day. He released a solo record under the name Stolen Violin that was undeniably lovely and now it seems he’s a member of this here band Soda Eaves. It’s probably not a new development but I TOLD you, I’m no longer 100% across the bands projects since they’ve managed to remove their GPS trackers from their flesh (which is to say it certainly isn’t a new development since they’ve already released an entire nother record in 2013). Murray Darling is the record they released last week (thankfully available on wax too even!) and it’s only in listening to this that I remember how incumbent Jordan’s voice is in my memory, its roots having grown through my conscious into that thicker soil of the nostalgic subconscious. He’s always had a way of writing lyrics that were bodily and earthy, natural and coarse, speaking in language and sounds that felt more small town than tertiary which perfectly compliments the instrumentation on Murray Darling.
I wonder however if this is the product of his pen as my minor research has suggested that the project is primarily the work of Hot Palms guitarist Jake Core which is now making me question if that’s even Jordan’s voice and now I’m crying and confused and it’s 8:24pm on a Sunday night and I don’t know what to do. Anyway though, there’re stray violin parts and piano sections but it’s largely the acoustic and electric guitars that entangle Jordan’s (maybe) voice. I guess I’m a little bit sorry to Soda Eaves that I’ve framed this within the narrative of the Middle East because this record is a work that shouldn’t be in the shadow of another now defunct band but it’s the framework of my experience and they really were one of my great musical loves. So go into this knowing that there’s a vapour of that original Middle East threading through this record but take it as a new thing, the product of mostly new people and something to make its own memories and emotional connections. Listen to it while driving somewhere special or next to someone significant and embed it with your own context that marks it as a new beast because it’s both new and beautiful.