Dahlia - Middle Distance
By Benjamin Irons
Bittersweet alt-rockers Middle Distance have wasted no time to announce themselves as serious contenders in the up-and-coming alternative scene with their latest instalment, Dahlia EP. Comprised of Patrick Lewin (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Loach (guitar), Calvin Lennox (Bass) and Alex Peal (Drums), the band have opted to swap folksy Buckinghamshire roots for a South London spook to marry their idealist sound.
Album artwork, unused album designs, MxD August Tour poster, Dahlia EP launch show poster, and Dahlia t-shirts designs all produced by UWE Bristol Illustration student Andrew Smith. Smith also has a foundation in Art & Design at Bucks New University and currently bases his speciality album artwork and poster designs on digitally layered drawings, paintings and photographs.
Where you'd expect Dahlia EP to feel a little more genteel than its predecessor Losing Colour EP (2015), surprisingly, there's little variation. Nonetheless, the four-track EP is by no means a disappointing effort, despite bearing abundant similarities. Namely, its opener "Same Time Next Week" opens with a rather poignant chorus-effect from guitarist Tim Loach, while frontman Patrick Lewin's languished melodies channel his inner Morrissey and sets the tone for an album infatuated with the politics of adolescence. Follower "Coming Of Age" remains loyal to the bands conventional sound of big, open choruses, with a catchy hook in the verses and pre-chorus to rightfully earn its title as a leading single from the EP.
Their 2014 demo Same Time Next Week had endorsed a grungier persona, which, when listening to Dahlia EP, feels completely far-flung to what they are fashioning today. Title-track "Dahlia" is a perfect example of this, making evident the band's ability to adopt softer styles to what they are used to, however, not necessarily embracing that change as highly as hoped - a somewhat lacking attempt to make sense of the band's face-value prettiness. Shoegaze-y closer "July" is paisley headbands and torn jeans from start to finish; open chords and raspy vocals are fused to make for an expressively climactic number, fittingly, for a band that desire to leave a lasting impression with each and every track they produce.
You can catch the boys on their nationwide tour this month with Drawstring, 4th til 7th, and Splitsville, from the 12th to the 21st; the latter being the date for the EP's official launch show at The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch.