Patrick Bobilin, a native to New York City’s bustling streets, has been at the helm of the electronic outfit MIDNIGHTCHOIR since 2014, in artistic tandem with Sarah Simon. Their latest EP, VERSION/SACRIFICE, elegantly dovetails with their previous work, Loverboy Molotov—released earlier this July—which artfully melded Bobilin’s penchant for classic goth and darkwave with the introspections drawn from his 2016 debut, THE CROWN.
VERSION/SACRIFICE is infused with the spirit of the punk, goth, and post-punk vibrations from the 70s and 80s. With Simon lending her vocals to two of the EP’s quintet of tracks, there’s an unmistakable evolution in their musical articulation. The duo seems to have gently distanced themselves from the intense darkwave rhythms of Loverboy Molotov, harkening back to the liberating, dance-inducing beats of their earlier compositions.
And now, this ensemble presents a modern, yet reverent, rendition of Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Simon faithfully recreates the spark, down to the Bromley Contingent pronunciation of “entrance.”
“Spellbound is one of my favorite songs of all time,” says Patrick Bobilin. “I wanted to do it justice but I also wanted to grow as a band. Sarah and I worked through many takes, with her pushing away from her pitch-perfect tone and embracing the punk energy of her youth….I haven’t gotten to scream on a song since high school and Sarah hasn’t released the kind of rage she has on Spellbound on any record ever. We’ve already got a new record in the can, but on this, we decided to take a leisurely stroll through some spooky classics and maybe learn something on the way.”
Accompanying the single is a lyric video; a visual mosaic crafted by Bobilin himself, drawing upon cinematic masterpieces such as 1981’s Possession and 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Further enriching the auditory palette, David Simutis (Err0r C0de) lends his guitar artistry, seamlessly integrating with Bobilin’s intricate sound designs. True to the spirit of the entire EP, the cover art elegantly intertwines touches reminiscent of old haunted mansions, cleverly juxtaposing playfulness with the more foreboding undertones of the tracks.
From the outset of the band’s journey, Bobilin’s path has been as eclectic as it has been impassioned. He ventured into the political arena, led notable community initiatives during the tumultuous social justice movements of 2020, and remained an unwavering pillar of community organization. Amidst the fervour of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, Bobilin found himself detained on two occasions while orchestrating protests. These moments, including spirited debates with then-Mayor de Blasio concerning law enforcement aired over live radio, permeated the lyricism of the punk-laden darkwave album he so fervently put together in the nascent weeks of 2023.
Loverboy Molotov, their 2023 musical offering, bears the unmistakable imprint of Bobilin’s relentless vigor, reminiscent of his political forays in 2017, 2020, and 2022. While he had resolutely chosen to vacate the political stage, it did little to quell his inner fires. The album encapsulates his myriad frustrations, leading him toward a decidedly progressive perspective, with reflections spanning the emotional, societal, spiritual, and political spectra.
In addition to Spellbound, the rest of the covers in VERSION/SACRIFICE herald a departure, adopting a whimsical, yet self-aware demeanor. Sarah Simon’s vocals gracefully command the spotlight. Yet, Bobilin offers a nod to Danzig with his rendition of The Misfits’ Hybrid Moments, Samhain’s The Howl, and playfully tackles the work of Peter Steele with a brooding dance interpretation of Black No 1. Concluding the EP is a hauntingly psychedelic reinterpretation of their homage to Bauhaus’s Bela Lugosi’s Dead.
“Sarah and I wanted to do something fun and light to brighten our own spirits after the heavy content on Loverboy Molotov,” says Bobilin. “We also wanted to feature Sarah more prominently as less of a background player in MIDNIGHTCHOIR. We took the opportunity to grow stylistically and in our working relationship by taking some of these songs in a new direction.”
Listen to the EP via Spotify below:
See them live at Berlin in NYC’s East Village on 12/20 with Winkie and MangoDog.
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