Mike Watt The Secondman's Middle Stand

Mike Watt The Secondman's Middle Stand
Following a considerable period of silence, Mike Watt has finally returned to his solo career after nearly a year of being a Stooge. Given that Watt started in a hardcore band, it’s easy to forget that he has never bowed to any genre or become predictable. The Secondman’s Middle Stand follows in the conceptual vein of his previous solo material and, in keeping with that same solo career, follows an entirely new and different concept. This time around, Watt looks to his most recent past in the form of his near-death experience at the hands of an abscess in his perineum (consult a medical dictionary) for inspiration. The entire album is a gruesomely beautiful song cycle through the deepest lows of Watt’s near brush with the reaper. For Middle Stand, Watt has evolved the bass ever closer to a purely emotional instrument. The bass leaps from the mixes expressing pain and anguish not unlike how B.B. King would express his feelings through Lucille. Never before in any kind of music has the bass guitar taken such a valuable role in not only driving the rhythm of the songs but driving home the emotional meaning behind them. Watt’s folksy baritone welcomes listeners in and keeps them safe as he guides them through the horrible tortures of "Bursted Man,” "Pissbag And Tubing” and "Beltsanded Man” and he lets his bass scream off all doubts. At the end of the record, Watt has come out of his physical and psychological turmoil and has begun to live life again ("Pluckin’, Pedalin’ and Paddlin’” seems self explanatory). The passion and joy at having reached the end of the record is palpable in the songs and what has always been apparent in Mike Watt’s work shines through once more. Watt never talks down to his audience, he simply pours every feeling he has into his art — good or bad. Middle Stand can’t help but be the most honest record of this year. (Columbia)