Stef Chura - Midnight - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Stef Chura - Midnight

by Mark Moody Rating:7 Release Date:2019-06-07
Stef Chura - Midnight
Stef Chura - Midnight

Detroit indie rocker Stef Chura takes a sonic leap forward on her sophomore album, Midnight.  Chura has been plugging away for ten years now and from the promise of her debut, Messes, in 2017 her latest release is fully formed but still has plenty of engaging rough edges.  On Midnight she has teamed up with Will Toledo (Car Seat Headrest) as both producer and musical partner, along with returning drummer Ryan Clancy.  With a voice that has more catches on record than Bill Dance and punched up layers of sound, the album is arriving just in time for the Summer music blitz. 

It’s not clear why album opener ‘All I Do Is Lie’ was not the first single off the album, but it kicks Midnight off in high gear with a bass-heavy wobble.  The song also showcases Chura’s vocals at peak manoeuvrability as they corner tightly or race the short straightaways in this modern six-minute take on loneliness.  There are plenty of straightforward and crunchy rockers across the album with tracks like ‘Scream’, ‘Method Man’, and ‘They’ll Never’ which ends in squalls of feedback, but 'All I Do Is Lie' stands tall among them. 

But Chura’s approaches get more varied in other spots on the album.  ‘Degrees’ starts off more stripped down with Chura’s vocals taking center stage until the seething choruses.  Even a few of the briefer songs hold rewards.  ‘Love Song’ is a brisk little countrified track with only Chura and Toledo, but the piano-driven ‘Trumbull’ is a standout though it barely lasts a minute.  Here Chura’s voice is most unadorned as she plaintively rails on about a “whipping grease lobotomy”.  No idea what that might be, but it will earn you some funny looks singing it out loud.  It's also a hard thing not to do once the chorus gets stuck in your head.  On the song’s short promise, you could easily see an extended keyboard powered song in Chura’s future.

One of the other longer tracks, ‘Sweet Sweet Midnight’ has Chura and Toledo in duet mode to recall a friend of hers lost too soon.  It’s a slower more vocally emotive song that benefits from its story-telling approach.  On the flip side, the subject of ‘3D Girl’ is more cryptic, but the song’s cranked up and chopped up synths make it one of the more powerful takes here. 

On Midnight, Chura proves herself capable of putting together the most energetic indie rock album you are likely to hear this year.  She sings with a veteran’s confidence backed by Toledo at the controls.  If the album isn’t life altering or full of musical surprises (and whether the world needs a Billy Idol cover is debatable), it’s still consistently compelling over its dozen tracks and makes for a bracing kickoff to what looks to be a long, hot Summer.  An album that definitely needs to be heard for more than just the handful of singles.

Note:  The album is currently streaming at NPR First Listen in advance of its June 7 release. 


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Looking forward to giving this a listen. I hope they will promote this album together, cause I will be there!

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