wed 28/06/2017

CD: Midlake – Antiphon | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Midlake – Antiphon

CD: Midlake – Antiphon

Reconfigured Texan troubadours look for focus after losing their singer

Many bands would pack it in after the departure of their lead singer, especially if he was their main songwriter. In Midlake’s case, the damage was compounded by Tim Smith leaving after work had begun on the band’s fourth album. Antiphon is what it became, and it’s not what had been started with Smith. One track aside, they began afresh with guitarist Eric Pulido stepping up to fill the gap.

Nonetheless, Antiphon is recognisably a Midlake album, albeit one more languorous and soft-focus than ever before. The traces of folk, Americana and Neil Young which surfaced from time to time have largely evaporated. More psychedelic than they have been for years, Midlake gently turn the clock back to their woozy 2004 debut, Bamnan and Silvercock.

The vaporous Antiphon opens with the tumbling title track, a swirling sonic kaleidoscope with stabs of guitar, busy, revolving drums and multi-tracked vocals. Although dense, the sound is soft edged – as though individual elements have coagulated while wafting across open space. “Antiphon” seamlessly melds with “Provider”, which could be part two of the same song. “The Old and the Young”, the album’s bouncy third track, is more dynamic, but is still reined in by the velveteen production. As the album continues, it become even mistier. “Ages” has a nice atonal psychedelic wig-out section, but overall it meanders without finding a focus. Scudding past like wisps of cloud, Antiphon is the sound of a band who haven’t quite recovered from the shock of Smith's sudden departure and regained their balance. The fog may clear in a live setting.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Overleaf: Listen to the title track from Midlake’s Antiphon

Listen to the title track from Midlake’s Antiphon

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