Curtis Godino and The Midnight Wishers are tired of Always Waiting for love in their romantic and nostalgic new single and video — premiering on Tinnitist.
The final preview of the group’s debut album Curtis Godino Presents The Midnight Wishers (out Friday, Feb. 11), the woozy waltz takes you back to the glory days of girl-group pop, complete with deadpan vocals, angelic three-part harmonies, tragic lyrics and a vintage-sounding track built from the rubble of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.
It’s all part of the fun, spooky universe that musician, songwriter, producer and underground svengali Godino is out to evoke with his latest eccentric project, an endeavour that finally answers the eternal musical question: What if a cute girl group scored a hit song about a car crash, then actually died in a car crash, but decades later, David Lynch conjured their spirits for a beach-themed Halloween special?
“I’ve always been a fan of girl groups and old generic love songs,” says Brooklyn artist Godino, previously known for his psychedelic band Worthless and his ’60s-style light projection shows. “No matter how cheesy, they always get stuck in my head, so I decided I would try to make some of my own, with the help of my friends.”
Chief among those friends are The Midnight Wishers: Lead vocalist Jin Lee and backing singers Rachel Herman and Jessica McFarland, all of whom Godino recruited. Lee also contributed lyrics, which she tends to recite as often as she sings in a dreamy, earnest voice. The trio are the perfect messengers for Godino’s tunes, visually as well as sonically. In photos, they pose before bubble-gummy backgrounds, playing with an ouija board by candlelight, looking like a cartoon crime-fighting team.
But make no mistake: This project belongs to Godino, a musical ringmaster in the tradition of Spector or more aptly Shadow Morton, whose noir sensibilities spawned such uncanny pop marvels as The Shangri-Las’ Leader of the Pack and Remember (Walking in the Sand).
Godino built the wall of sound almost entirely by himself, recording on his eight-track tape machine during the pandemic shutdown. Starting with drum tracks from Andrew Max and Adam Amram, he would add picked bass guitar in the style of L.A. studio legend Carol Kaye, then go bonkers with fuzzy guitars, Farfisa organ, mellotron, analog synthesizers, glockenspiel, an arsenal of other percussion instruments and an array of mysterious electronic effects.
Always Waiting, the album’s opening cut, sets the mood immediately with a melancholy marimba and a chilly blast of blowing-wind effects. In a babyish, deadpan monologue, Lee introduces the persona that looms over the album: a long-suffering girlfriend on the verge of a violent outburst. In this case, she sits by a phone that doesn’t ring — waiting, wishing, wondering — and starts a call-and-response pattern with the backing duo, whom Godino’s production pumps up into a demented children’s choir. Her forlornness is palpable: ‘As I sit waiting for tomorrow / Another day, another sorrow / When I look into the sky all I see / Are my lover’s longing eyes staring back at me.’
Watch the video for Always Waiting above, hear more from Curtis Godino below, and get up to speed on The Midnight Wishers at their website.