Midlake - Antiphon
Right, a quick catch up on Texan folkers Midlake: release critically and commercially successful third album in 2010; spend most of the following two years touring the world; record a new album. Then, almost immediately, throw all the sessions away as your lead singer and songwriter leaves the group. Finally spend the rest of 2013 re-writing and recording your latest, Antiphon. And here we are today with guitarist Eric Pulido stepping up to the mic, literally, and the whole band taking more ownership for the music they’re producing.
On first listen there’s a definite harder edge; the title track is rockier and heavier on the drums, and you don’t necessarily miss former vocalist Tim Smith. But as it opens out, the weirdy beardy folk influences remain on ‘Provider’ and really hit home on ‘The Old And The Young’ with all manner of pipes and organs in the mix, while ‘Vale’'s pan pipe intro morphs into a freestyle jazz-like freakout. There are attempts to fuse the rock and folk elements: ‘This Weight’ is mostly successful, but the album peters to a close with the needless ‘Provider Reprise’. Whilst not quite the departure some would have you believe (or which the opening track suggests), Antiphon sees Midlake grow, albeit incrementally and, if nothing else, it's less twee than The Courage Of Others.