Modest Midget – Crysis

Modest Midget - Crysis

Modest Midget is the project of Lonny Ziblat, a composer and lyricist of israelian and argentinian descent. In order to put his compositions into form, he surrounded himself with a few skilled musicians from The Netherlands, the country he lives in. Crysis is his second album, released four years after the critically acclaimed The Great Prophecy of a Small Man. Previously regarded as the missing link between The Beatles and Fank Zappa, Modest Midget confirm with the new album this status.

Humour occupies indeed an important place in the band’s music. In fact, while very varied in its atmospheres, including an IQ-like opening section and balkan folk, A centurion’s Itchy Belly retains a strong circus music flavour. The energetic ska-punk of Rocky Valleys of Dawn will put a smile on your face and make you tap your feet. Ska goes back with a highly sidesplitting cover of Roy Orbison‘s Pretty Woman, where humorous keyboards à la Cardiacs meet the unusual high-pitch of Lonny. We continue to laugh with the instrumental Flight of The Cockroach and its completely daffy zappaesques. But our Amsterdam-based chaps don’t want to be regarded as complete wackos, so they threw in some deeper songs. The bipolar Now That We’re Here where hilarious (manic?) instrumental sections alternate with languid (depressive?) rock passages, announce indeed a deeper side of our musicians. This “serious” facet is expressed in a cheerful way first. In this league, let’s cite the pastoral pop-folk balads Praise The Day and Gone Is, but also the jazz-pop instilled serene tune Periscope Down, laden with the spirit of Steely Dan. The soft frail voice of Lonny gives all three songs a haunting vibe though. Besides, the music of the band can also sail on tormented waters. In fact, Crisis (Awake of the Sheep) presents troubled drums and eerie keyboards. The despaired waltz Secret lies, where a crying guitar and a haunting choir shine like a blazing fire, sees Lonny at his most passionate. And finally, Birth is an attempt to reconciliate the light and the dark side of the “serious” songs.

Lonny Ziblat is an artist who doesn’t care about labels in music. He does what he wants, far from any diktat imposed by record companies on the direction to follow. This approach is highly laudable, and our enthusiastic composer is quite good at blending various musical styles. I tend to like the funny stuff more than the “serious” one on Crysis, but mainly because I like when music goes off the beaten paths. Anyway, Lonny is comfortable with both worlds, and his second album with Modest Midget is yet another example that music has no frontiers. Like Dixie Dregs or Waltari before him, he carries the torch of eclecticism and tolerance. Let’s hope that this torch will continue to light for many long years.


01. The Grand Gate Opening

02. A Centurion’s Itchy Belly

03. Rocky Valleys of Dawn

04. Praise The Day

05. Now That We’re Here

06. Periscope Down

07. Pretty Woman

08. Flight of The Cockroach

09. Secret Lies

10. Gone Is

11. Crisis (Awake of the Sheep)

12. Birth

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