Midnight Juggernauts

The Crystal Axis

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Upping the ante on their assured debut, The Crystal Axis is a concept album apparently accompanied by a physical construct -- also called The Crystal Axis, and represented by the conical collection of tubes on the cover -- that Midnight Juggernauts assembled for an accompanying tour. It's clear that the band has now exposed nearly all its previously latent proggy tendencies. The Crystal Axis begins with a two-minute “Induco” and so closely imitates Pink Floyd's sonic expanse and melodramatic vocals throughout the album that they'll likely be next in line for the Storm Thorgerson treatment on their next LP. Granted, the trio is still in thrall to dance music, so all their Floydian textures come at bpm levels that Waters and Gilmour and company would never have approached. The production is accomplished and detailed, as is the merger of sounds live and programmed, analog and digital. Like Röyksopp and Phoenix and many other ostensible dance acts, it’s clear Midnight Juggernauts have every intention to play driving tracks like “Lifeblood Flow” and “This New Technology” at every festival they’re invited to (four continents and counting), although their songwriting isn’t as compelling as the production and performances. Highlights do appear, and in unexpected places: “Lara Versus the Savage Pack” reaches another level only several minutes in, and it flows well into “The Great Beyond.” Tagged indie dance early on, Midnight Juggernauts still deserve the description, given their insistent beat and focus on effects, although now there’s far more Supertramp and Pink Floyd here than Daft Punk or Justice.

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