Middle Name John created Obviously Confidential cornered between the fatigues of late-stage capitalism and the overwhelming feeling that doomsday is always one step ahead. Composed of eight groovy, trippy and often witty songs, the album is a blend of electronic experimentalism with the occasional swagger of a guitar riff. Effortlessly interspersing a post-punk attitude, well-penned lyricism, and experimental blends of rock and electronic music, the artist guides audiences through a dystopian atmosphere, challenging their perceptions of the world.
Every track dives down a new musical rabbit hole, ‘Hello Friend’ adds off-kilter drum rhythms to indie-rock guitar licks, ‘Give Me Time’ weaves tight rhythms into experimental production, and the frenzied performances on ‘Be Gone’ contrasts optimistic delivery with gritty sound design. The album closes off with the rollercoaster of ‘Too Much Too Soon’ where the live drums of Marijus Aleksa are paired with a glitchy emotional climax that leaves a powerful lasting impression on the listener.
More runaway train conductor than narrator, Middle Name John distills disillusioned poetry that oscillates between a purge of incisive social observations and a collection of elaborate indagations of subconsciousness, holding a two-way mirror into the personal and the collective. ‘Obviously Confidential’ highlights the shortcomings of modern-day individualism and reminds us that perhaps the glimmer of hope at the end of the dark tunnel of human ugliness can only be achieved through empathy.
The artist shares the ideas and concepts of the album, “There are a few common themes and ideas running throughout the album. Uncertainty is surely one of them. Another would be that it’s okay to reject divisive ideas fed to us by authoritative figures and if that turns people off, that’s okay. Say hello to friends and cherish the people who push you forward when you feel too slow (you aren’t too slow). Everything does feel different, but while the world may be cruel…don’t let it make you mean.”
Recorded during times of simultaneous global pause and unrest, the album intentionally reflects the chaotic, confusing, and at some points, silly dialogues that happened both in the public and internal spheres. Instead of enforcing solitude, Middle Name John embraced collaboration, bringing along multi-instrumentalist friends such as Alessandro La Barbera (Los Padres, Sans Soucis) and Max Mella (Aphty Khéa, Sheldon Agwu) as co-producers. On the final track ‘Too Much Too Soon’ you can hear the propulsive drumming of Marijus Aleksa (Joe Armon Jones, Oscar Jerome). The challenge of never being in the room with more than one person invited each collaborator to bring an individual edge to their respective tracks, turning the songwriting into a playful process where the toying around with cassette loops and effects pedals can be heard throughout.
All lyrics by Middle Name John.
All music written and produced by:
Alex LoSardo + Alessandro La Barbera [trks 1-3, 7-8]
Alex LoSardo and Max Mella [trks 4-6]
Mastered by Tobin Jones at Park Studios
MIDDLE NAME JOHN - DIFFERENT
MIDDLE NAME JOHN - TOO SLOW