“Here comes the candle to light you to bed, and here comes the chopper to chop off your head…” What sets Martin Newell apart from other terminally-DIY artists is his ‘anti-fashion, but pro-pop’ attitude; The Cleaners From Venus is all about the quest for the perfect pop song, and they scored more than a few in their lifetime (why glossy singalong “Corridor Of Dreams” never made it into the charts or the end credits of a Hollywood film is beyond me). Captured Tracks reissued the entire Cleaners discography a few years back (a whopping eleven albums, three boxsets and one best-of) but if you’re looking for a point of entry, Midnight Cleaners is as good as any. It’s a transitional album for the band, effectively just a Martin Newell solo project as his drummer Lol Elliott had just moved 200 miles away, so a cheap drum machine picks up most of the slack. I think at the time, Newell was just cracking on, writing songs and putting them to tape by any means necessary, not knowing it would coincide as his most interesting production effort as well as his finest hour as a songwriter. Something about the DIY bedroom-pop arrangements and lo-fi grit allowed the album to pierce straight through into our office Spotify recommendations after a week-long Ariel Pink binge a couple years back, and it’s stayed in constant rotation ever since. From the minimal wave synth intro “This Rainy Decade” and homecoming game vibes of “Time In Vain” through to the bulletproof janglepop spine-tingler “Only A Shadow” and the cinematic “Corridor Of Dreams,” “Wivenhoe Bells” and “Midnight Cleaners,” I can’t think of another ‘indie rock’ record with a song streak as solid as this one (the three other tracks aren’t bad either). This 2012 pressing is remastered and marks the first time the album has ever been available on vinyl (originally self-released on cassette, you believe that?), includes full color printed insert with photos, credits and extensive liner notes. Highly recommended.
- first time on vinyl
- includes full color printed insert
- digital download included
- music label: Captured Tracks 2012
reviewed by military 2step 10/2018
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