Listen Up: Wednesday, March 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Middleground

Out of Time ... (BGM Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Not all college students are obnoxious assholes. You know — the leaders of tomorrow and all that, on a journey of self-discovery that includes eating mountains of ramen noodles and drinking gallons of cheap beer. I occasionally have to remind myself of this fact when I’m confronted, as I was a coupla weekends ago at the University IHOP around bar-closing time, by the behavior pattern I call “Look at me, I’m drunk!”

The guys from Middleground are a much better example of collegiate America than the IHOP slops. Formed by Brent Wood and Dave Vaughan, two San Antonio high school buddies reunited at TCU, the band has been pounding the local boards for a couple of years now. They’re Aardvark regulars and have done a couple of higher-profile gigs, including last September’s Texas Music Festival in the Rail Market. That was around the time when they released this pretty good c.d.

It’s a truism that nowadays, college bands tend to sound like Dave Matthews or, uh, Hootie and the Blowfish (who, by the time you read this, will have released a new album, a sure harbinger of the end of western civilization). You know, that whole sensitive-acoustic-strumming-guy-with-electric-band thang.

While Middleground might fit that mold, Wood’s a better-than-average singer, his songs are melodic and hook-laden, and his band’s playing serves these tunes well. Drummer Vaughan propels things nicely, keeping the proceedings from getting too acoustic-open-mic-night, while guitarist Chris George (not the guy from ’60s teevee show Rat Patrol, unfortunately) and keyboardist Vince Guerin tastefully decorate the numbers.

As a matter of fact, this is the most radio-ready local record I’ve heard in eons. Although frankly I don’t know what to think about a song titled “Unharden Your Heart.” Damn, what kind of grammar are they teaching at TCU these days?


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