The Midnight’s Endless Summer is 2016’s Greatest ’80s Soundtrack (Review)

The Midnight’s take on ’80s pop is packed with synthesizer goodness — and blazing guitar and sax solos galore.
Endless Summer - The Midnight

The Midnight — aka, producer Tim McEwan and vocalist Tyler Lyle — hails from Los Angeles, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Los Angeles that exists in a parallel universe where it’s always 1984, everyone drives Ferraris and Lamborghinis while sporting Raybans and pastel suits, and it’s perpetually the last night of summer break.

As you might have guessed, Endless Summer is yet another album that evokes nostalgic shades of ’80s soundtracks and keyboard-based pop thanks to oodles of high-energy synth arpeggios — not to mention blazing guitar and sax solos galore.

Like so many other dreamwave/synthwave artists (e.g., Mild Peril, Perturbator, Robert Parker) there’s a definite cheesiness in The Midnight’s level of ’80s-based nostalgia, especially since I can’t help but wonder how old McEwan and Lyle actually were during that golden decade. Even so, there’s no denying that the group’s excess makes for quite a fun listen, particularly on the M83-esque title track, “Sunset” (and its too-hot guitar riff), “The Comeback Kid,” and “Vampires” (which contains the album’s sax-centric highlight, plus some orchestral hits for good measure).

There’s also an element of wistfulness to Endless Summer that makes it even more fetching — the album ends with Lyle singing, “Summer days are growing colder/We’ll know better when we’re older” — but there’s certainly no ominous Makeup & Vanity Set-esque cyber-gloom here, that’s for sure. Nearly every song on Endless Summer seems intent on being the perfect soundtrack for a montage about a couple of teenagers in love taking one last summer evening drive alongside the Pacific.

The Midnight have also released an “instrumental” version of Endless Summer, if you’d prefer to listen to these ’80s jams sans vocals.

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