Consumers love products, and Ann Arbor, MI's Midwest Product delivers the goods. Between cold-rockin' the set with deep melodic changes and propulsive rhythmic energy to flipping your head around with warmly methodic programming, Specifics, their debut for the forward-thinking Ghostly International label, never fails to surprise or intrigue. With an eye and ear on Low-Life-era New Order, Midwest Product bring analog and digital together in a pop framework while rooting themselves quietly but deeply in contemporary experimental electronic music. Guitar blasts simultaneously play out the raw visage of Bernard Sumner's purposefully naïve chord progressions and Peter Hook's single-string playing, combined with sequenced keyboard lines that change with cinematic purpose. With all that, Midwest drives Specifics with the effortlessly perfect meter of live percussion and driving basslines that create a sense of urgency. This all spells out a strange but tangible lyrical beauty while remaining, for the most part, an instrumental transgression into Tortoise territory. Even as Midwest Product wear their influences on their sleeve, they never settle for the easy or derivative path. Instead, each corner develops new melodic surprises that can be both humorous and heady. "Pigeons" casts one of the first major changes with a quirky synth bassline that becomes enveloped within vocoded robotic vocals and thick, danceable keyboard slices, while the next track, "Alternator," relaxes and wanes with multiple layers of swirling effects. The pacing of the entire album is never forced and flows with an organic logic and natural ebb -- making Specifics one of the best of the year and Midwest Product the act to watch out for in 2002. Unequivocally recommended.
AllMusic Review by Sam Samuelson