Back in February, Midwives delivered its third release in under a year’s time. At a trim 16 minutes spread between a 10-pack of songs, the blistering self-titled release displayed the band’s uncommon ability to cram organized chaos and efficient expression into a group of songs that averaged roughly 90 seconds apiece. Though Midwives‘ run time was tragically brief, it was far and away the band’s most significant and fully-realized recorded material to that point. That is, until now.
Not two months after Midwives birthed that record into the world, the hardcore quartet gathered at Howl Street Recording and pounded out yet another release—Cowboy Songs, which Dusty Medical Records will put out starting Thursday—in a single session. Recorded live (with minimal overdubs) on a late April day, the five-song EP brings out a cleaner-sounding representation of a band amid even grittier songs. From the opening snare thuds of “Back In The Saddle Again” to the self-loathing lyrics in “Shaun Attends A Party” and the ostentatious (in the best sense of the word) guitar squeals competing with the screams for the control of “You Will Always Get What You Need,” Cowboy Songs manages to show measured growth that’s somehow contained in a smaller package. Even “You Can Always Get What You Want” and “Creature Of Habit”—re-recorded remnants from the band’s 2014 split cassette with Foreign Lawns—cast a more imposing shadow thanks to Shane Hostetler’s work at Howl and Justin Perkins’ mastering work at Mystery Room.
With just one song cracking the two-minute mark (by a single second, mind you), Midwives’ latest is just as lean as its various predecessors in regard to length, yet the gussied up recording process and the band’s ability to make marked artistic leaps in only about eight minutes shows more meat on the bone than anything they’ve done before. Before Midwives release Cowboy Songs (and a limited two-song bonus cassette) at High Dive tomorrow, spend seven (or so) minutes in heaven with the EP now, only at Milwaukee Record.