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Midlake - Antiphon CD (album) cover

ANTIPHON

Midlake

 

Prog Folk

3.68 | 12 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Considering the weight of songwriting burden on former lead vocalist Tim Smith, one could be forgiven for assuming that his departure would essentially dissect MIDLAKE, but instead the band pulls a 1975 GENESIS, promoting from within and opting for the cooperative approach on "Antiphon". Musically speaking, after the initial disappointment of Eric Pulido's decidedly frailer vocals and the general absence of (perhaps overly?) emotive melodies, this isn't far off the more psychedelic and dreamier pieces on 2010's "The Courage of Others", although it seems like more of a sequel to "Trials of Van Occupanther" from 2006. It all goes to show that the rest of MIDLAKE were more than just session musicians for Tim Smith, that clearly some collective consciousness was in play, and they are obviously on board with the prog/psych/folk sound and/or can't escape it so easily.

The first half of the album tends to be the more accessible, and also a bit punchier, especially in the percussions. "Antiphon" is a short hypnotic mid tempo song that seems pleasant yet wholly unremarkable until evaluated in the overall context, part of which is its iridescent successor "Provider", a gorgeous uptempo ballad with evocative lyrics that might be construed as an appeal for inspiration and strength in the face of crises, and it sets an optimistic but not cloying tone. This is when MIDLAKE's tendencies to blanket the listener in a mood are apparent again, and additional splendors like the infectious hit potential of "The Old and the Young", the psych wonder "It's Going Down", the TIR NA NOG like "Aurora Gone", and the percussive and synth driven "This Weight" in and of themselves make this a worthwhile listen for prog folk fans. If the other tunes don't measure up, they still help to propel the generally subdued angst of "Antiphon" to its denouement, a lyrical if not musical reprise of "Provider".

I could say that MIDLAKE has done it again, but that wouldn't be quite fair to Smith's legacy or the new incarnation. While "Antiphon" isn't quite at the level of the prior two releases, it is far better than one would have any right to expect. Come to think of it, isn't that what happened back in 1975?

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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