Kyle Maraton a.k.a. The Midnight Greetings tries his hand at ‘60s-style psych rock—a pivot from his customary indie—and the results are intriguing, to say the very least. Hypnotic, sluggish, and deliberately stationary, it’s a metaphor for life as we (now) know it.
Picture, in your mind’s ear, a slacker melody that goes through great lengths to swathe you in repetition. Then picture, yet again, an upstream plod of a beat, quietly edging along with minimal fuss. That proposition may sound like an absolute snooze fest, true, but the man behind The Midnight Greetings is somehow able to make it work in his new single, “If Time is a Luxury.”
What stands out is the deliberateness of its snail-paced unfolding—almost like it’s vying to be the audio snippet for the dictionary entry for hypnotism—and its refusal of climax and crescendo. After all, the piece speaks of the glacial crawl of life itself: its tick-tock-ing towards inevitable doom, set against the deceivingly comforting blanket of routine.
Inching by on a two-chord progression and an unflinching drum pattern, “If Time” is a reverb-drenched paean to wakefulness and sentience at a time when—let’s face it—wakefulness and sentience are of not much import. Maraton is channeling latter-era Richard Ashcroft here, his dry delivery echoing the parched-earth existentialism of youth.
An empty street. Copious reserves of whiskey. A feeling that luck has been shown the door. Surely, “If Time” isn’t crafted from the same headspace as “Youth,” Maraton’s previous single from October of last year. There is defeat in both—or, more to the point, a sense of barely putting up a fight—but whereas a kind of rough-on-the-edges twee informs that prior tune, “If Time” is nestled snugly between shoegaze and psych, where texture is king and message is secondary.