Jon Manos is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist based in Atlanta, Georgia, who brings his ideas to fruition under the moniker of Middlebees, with a little help from a rotating line-up* of other musicians. The cover art of his debut LP In the Wild caught my attention, the music kept it. We are presented with twelve soulful, poppy rock songs that are somewhat reminiscent of The Gaslight Anthem, but less heavy and more cheerful. I assume that the first lines of the title song, with which the album starts, are significant for its creation: “You wanna get something started but you got nothing in your hands // You wanna scream at the top of your lungs but no one understands.” More important is the feeling you get from this music, which is well expressed at the end of closing track People, Places, Faces and Names: “If you do what feels true // Doesn’t matter what nobody thinks of you // After na na na na na na na na na // Na na na na na na na na // Na na na na na na na na na na // Na na na na na na na na // Mmm mmm.”
In the Wild, written by Jon Manos (you hear his vocals, guitar, bass, percussion, synths) and mixed by David Johansson, is out digitally via RockMartian Records. *Also featuring, on selected tracks, are Ben Cato (drums, percussion), Jeremy Nichols (bass, guitar), Neemias Teixeira (keys), Charlie Pinkard (guitar), Francesca Prattico (drums), Manuel Trabucco (sax), Claude Lumley (French horn), Antonie Verskovski (marimba, vibraphone), Artem Kori (sax, trombone, trumpet), and Matt Giella (trumpet).
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