Review: Mt Warning – Midnight Set

Mt Warning’s Mikey Bee and Taylor Steele have created a bold, dynamic, and beautifully crafted debut album in Midnight Set. The 11-track record wonderfully showcases Mt Warning’s distinctive sound, effortlessly captures the pair’s poetic style of storytelling in each unique track, and embraces the listener in an earthy, psych-inspired, and subtly whimsical world.

Alaska is of particular note, beginning delicately, before a swell of percussion hits you right in the gut. The track then subsides, snuggling into its quiet position again during the verses. Its dainty melody, coupled with the constant percussion, instills it with a ‘beachy’ vibe, while lyrics like “Tomorrow, we are young” add to the youthful ambiance. Haunting, ever-present backing vocals slide underneath as a welcome, meaty addition.

The immediately upbeat and energetic opening of Youth Bird makes a great contrast to other tracks on Midnight Set. It’s by now that you realise all of the album’s vocals have a similar earthy, echoing quality to them. However, Mt Warning’s arrangements surrounding the vocals are so intricate and unique that repetitiveness is not a concern.

One of the most stunning tracks is Forward Miles. Here, the calming, melancholic backing vocals are coupled with sparse and relaxed percussion and overlaid with honest lyrics, combinining for a truly remarkable sound that draws the listener in. The feelings of hope, pain, and determination that pour out through the lyrics translate perfectly in the music.

Watch: Mt Warning – Midnight Dawn

The opening lyrics, “Gonna live in a postcard, gonna live in the sky / Gonna live in a race car, gonna go there fast“, are fairly self-explanatory and get subtly more cryptic as the track moves forward, with Mikey sharing what he’s gonna do whilst moving on from a broken love.

The folky Anchor features quickened guitar strumming, relating an urgency to the listener, while the keys come as a welcome addition not heard in the previous tracks. The track has a quality reminiscent of Josh Pyke and the playful melody and youthful vocals make this one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album.

Things get experimental on Burn Again, on which filmmaker Steele’s influence is most apparent. Mt Warning’s use of percussion to incrementally heighten tension is akin to a soundtrack composer rapidly adding layers as an on-screen climax approaches. Burn Again features many different facets, though all remain cohesive.

Tattoo immediately launches into quickened electric guitar, soon accompanied by quick percussion which then punctuates the song throughout. It has an almost gypsy folk sound and could have served as a great album opener, though serves the listener best as a nice little surprise hidden in the latter part of the album.

The title track has a slight Amazonian vibe from the get-go and settles into a calming, whimsical pattern of delicate vocals. It’s a perfect end to the album and gives the listener a calm feeling after having absorbed such heavily emotional stories and sounds. Midnight Set could be likened to the feeling after watching a movie and seeing the credits roll up the screen. The main event is almost over, and now it’s time to chill and reflect on its content.

Midnight Set is overall a wonderfully constructed and lyrically poetic debut from Mt Warning. The tracks are arranged with so much care that as a listener, you really feel you are looking right into the souls of these boys as they pour out their best, musically and lyrically. The album is more than a solid debut from Mikey Bee and Taylor Steele.

Watch: Mt Warning – Youth Bird

Mt Warning’s ‘Midnight Set’ is out Friday, 28th March.

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