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MIDLAKE

Prog Folk • United States


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Midlake biography
Founded in Denton, Texas, USA in 1999

MIDLAKE originally formed as a group of like-minded college jazz/funk students under the name THE CORNBREAD ALL-STARS. They eventually evolved to playing original tunes heavily influenced by seventies progressive and art-rock bands.

The band first gained popularity in Europe, touring extensively and playing numerous music festivals before signing to Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie's (COCTEAU TWINS) label Bella Union. The band has since released an EP, three studio albums and a collection of sixties/seventies rock, psych and folk covers.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

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Buy MIDLAKE Music


Courage of OthersCourage of Others
Bella Union 2010
$3.23
$2.55 (used)
Trials of Van OccupantherTrials of Van Occupanther
Bella Union 2006
$5.79
$1.72 (used)
AntiphonAntiphon
ATO Records 2013
$9.00
$2.98 (used)
Late Night TalesLate Night Tales
LATE NIGHT TALES 2011
$8.20
$17.10 (used)
Bamnan And SlivercorkBamnan And Slivercork
BE.UN 2017
$23.22
$27.25 (used)
Live in Denton TxLive in Denton Tx
Ato Records 2015
$12.95
$24.99 (used)
Milkmaid Grand ArmyMilkmaid Grand Army
EP
Nova Posta Vinyl 2015
$85.76
$19.88 (used)
Am I Going InsaneAm I Going Insane
IMPORTS 2011
$2.43
$5.98 (used)
Milkmaid Grand Army by MidlakeMilkmaid Grand Army by Midlake
Nova Posta Vinyl
$187.06
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
MIDLAKE - ACTS OF MAN - ULTRA RARE SEALED, NEW 12" VINYL. USD $10.30 Buy It Now
MOJO COME ON LET'S GO!- AMY WINEHOUSE/ MIDLAKE/ TAME IMPALA-CD USD $0.99 [0 bids]
2h 53m
Midlake-Antiphon (UK IMPORT) Vinyl / 12" Album with CD NEW USD $23.34 Buy It Now 6h 26m
Midlake Live In Denton USD $25.75 Buy It Now 6h 51m
Midlake-Bamnan And Slivercork (UK IMPORT) VINYL NEW USD $24.96 Buy It Now 12h 35m
Rare Greek CD:BELLA UNION-Autumns,Dears,Laura Veirs,Midlake,Czars,Bikini Atoll USD $4.99 Buy It Now 15h 32m
MIDLAKE Balloon Maker/Mornings Will Be Kind 7" vinyl single USD $15.46 Buy It Now 16h 6m
The Trials Of Van Occupanther - Midlake Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $15.69 Buy It Now 18h 43m
MIDLAKE/WILL SELF Am I Going Insane/The Happy Detective 12" Late Night Tales USD $4.99 Buy It Now 19h 11m
MIDLAKE Acts Of Man 12" OOP late-00's indie-rock Bella Union USD $4.99 Buy It Now 19h 14m
The Trials of Van Occupanther ~ Midlake CD EX/EX 805551041225 USD $10.30 Buy It Now 19h 56m
Midlake - The Courage of Others - 11 Track USD $5.14 Buy It Now 20h 29m
Midlake ?- The Trials Of Van Occupanther CD Folk Rock USD $1.28 [0 bids]
21h 52m
Antiphon [VINYL] Midlake Vinyl USD $26.42 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
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BNQT VOLUME 1 RARE PROMO CD [TRAVIS, FRANZ FERDINAND, MIDLAKE, GRANDADDY] USD $6.43 Buy It Now 2 days
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Am I Going Insane (LateNightTales) Midlake 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK USD $17.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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Midlake : Trials of Van Occupanther CD USD $5.67 Buy It Now 2 days
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sealed MIDLAKE live in denton tx RECORD STORE DAY EP +LIVE DVD folk rock LIMITED USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Midlake The Courage Of Others 2010 Euro CD Album Alternative Folk Rock USD $9.01 Buy It Now 3 days
MIDLAKE 3 TRK SAMPLER w/ 2 RARE EDITS PROMO DJ CD Single 2006 STILL SEALED USA USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
UNCUT Paul Weller: Soul & Fire 11-trk CD NEW Midlake Big Youth The Hold Steady USD $5.14 Buy It Now 4 days
Midlake - Antiphon 5051083074346 (CD Used Like New) USD $9.60 Buy It Now 4 days
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Antiphon + Bonus CD - Sealed Midlake vinyl LP album record UK BELLAV425 USD $33.14 Buy It Now 4 days
Midlake Antiphon UK CD album (CDLP) BELLACD425 BELLA UNION 2013 USD $16.12 Buy It Now 4 days
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4 days
MIDLAKE -THE COURAGE OF OTHERS (CD 2010) 11 TRACKS UNSEALED MINT CD USD $4.51 Buy It Now 5 days
TWO MEDICINE Astropsychosis Rare 1 Track CD! Midlake USD $3.86 [0 bids]
5 days
BENEATH THE SURFACE VOLUME 2 SAMPLER CD MIDLAKE/DIRTY THREE/CZARS/HOWLING BELLS USD $5.16 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE - "Young Bride" & "Covers The Hillside" -Compact Disc E.P. (3 Songs CD) USD $7.50 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE - THE COURAGE OF OTHERS NEW CD USD $12.72 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE - THE COURAGE OF OTHERS USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $8.23 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Courage Of Others CD Europe Bella Union 2010 11 Track EX/EX- USD $5.40 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Courage Of Others CD Europe Bella Union 2010 11 Track EX/EX USD $6.43 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Antiphon CD Europe Bella Union 2013 10 Track CD In Card Sleeve Inc USD $8.37 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Roscoe CD Europe Bella Union 2006 1 Track Album Version Promo In Card USD $6.43 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Halifax Minster 11 Jul 2014 TICKET UK Ticketweb 2014 Used Ticket For USD $6.43 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Trials Of Van Occupanther CD Europe Bella Union 2006 11 Track USD $5.40 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Trials Of Van Occupanther CD UK Bella Union 2006 11 Track (Bellacd117) USD $4.05 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE Milkmaid Grand Army EP CD Europe Bella Union 2007 7 Track (Bellacd158) USD $16.88 Buy It Now 6 days
Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther (NEW CD) USD $9.66 Buy It Now 6 days
Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther [CD] USD $10.01 Buy It Now 6 days
Midlake ?- Bamnan And Slivercork VVR1025962 EUR CD E30-84 USD $6.38 Buy It Now 6 days
MIDLAKE ANTIPHON CD NEW DIGIPAK INDIE ALTERNATIVE PSYCH FOLK SOFT ROCK TEXAS USD $15.00 Buy It Now 6 days
MOJO Come On Let's Go! 15-trk CD Paul Weller Broadcast Tame Impala Midlake USD $7.72 Buy It Now 6 days
MOJO Come On Let's Go! 15-trk CD Paul Weller Broadcast Tame Impala Midlake USD $6.43 Buy It Now 7 days
-The Courage of Others CD Midlake New USD $5.60 Buy It Now 7 days
Midlake - The Courage of Others (2009 CD Alternative Folk Rock) USD $7.16 Buy It Now 7 days
MIDLAKE-ANTIPHON CD NEW USD $13.28 Buy It Now 7 days
Midlake - Trials of Van Occupanther (2006) USD $3.80 Buy It Now 7 days
Midlake-The Courage Of Others-Bella Union 224-2010 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 7 days
MIDLAKE LP + DVD LIVE in Denton Texas RECORD STORE DAY 2015 New SEALED USD $36.04 Buy It Now 7 days
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MIDLAKE Antiphon (2013) 10-track CD album NEW/SEALED USD $7.08 Buy It Now 8 days
MIDLAKE Antiphon (2013) 10-track CD album NEW/SEALED USD $7.03 Buy It Now 8 days
UNCUT CD WHITE WINTER HYMNALS FOLK COMPILATION 2009 FLEET FOXES VETIVER MIDLAKE USD $2.90 [0 bids]
8 days
MIDLAKE:"LIVE IN DENTON,TX":NEW GATEFOLD LP+ DVD:2015 RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE USD $9.95 Buy It Now 9 days
Live At The World Cafe Volume 37 CD Midlake Jason Isbell White Denim Houndmouth USD $11.17 Buy It Now 9 days
Midlake, Jarvis Cocker, Robert Gomez, J Dilla, Luke Slater U.S. promo cd USD $4.54 Buy It Now 9 days
MIDLAKE - Acts of Man vinyl EP WOW rulers ruling all things pearl jam opener lp USD $11.99 Buy It Now 9 days
MIDLAKE Courage Of Others RARE Lp PROMO Limited Edition 2010 Folk/Alt Rock VINYL USD $99.99 Buy It Now 9 days
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MIDLAKE SILKSCREEN CONCERT POSTER LIMITED EDITION WHITE USD $32.23 Buy It Now 9 days
Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther (CD 2006) USD $5.09 Buy It Now 9 days
Midlake - The Courage Of Others (CD Album) Used Very Good USD $2.90 Buy It Now 9 days
MIDLAKE - Bamnan & Silvercork (Record Store Day 2017) - Vinyl (LP) USD $23.79 Buy It Now 10 days
Bamnan & Slivercork Midlake CD USD $30.94 Buy It Now 10 days
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MIDLAKE THE COURAGE OF OTHERS RARE NEW SEALED CD! USD $19.32 Buy It Now 11 days
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(EN472) Midlake, The Old And The Young - 2013 DJ CD USD $2.57 Buy It Now 11 days
MIDLAKE 'Bamnan & Silvercork' RSD Ltd. Edition YELLOW Vinyl LP NEW/SEALED USD $21.46 Buy It Now 11 days
MIDLAKE The Fairest Way 2016 UK 1-track promo test CD Bella Union USD $5.14 Buy It Now 11 days

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MIDLAKE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIDLAKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 14 ratings
Bamnan And Slivercork
2004
3.88 | 38 ratings
The Trials Of Van Occupanther
2006
4.12 | 73 ratings
The Courage Of Others
2010
4.04 | 28 ratings
Antiphon
2013

MIDLAKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MIDLAKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Midlake: Live In Denton, TX
2015

MIDLAKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Late Night Tales
2011

MIDLAKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Kingfish Pies
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Milkmaid Grand Army
2006

MIDLAKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Trials Of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.88 | 38 ratings

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The Trials Of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'The Trials of Van Occupanther' is the 2nd full length studio album from the band 'Midlake'. Released in 2006, it followed their debut album, which was compared to bands like 'The Flaming Lips' and 'Mercury Rev', with a less psychedelic sound and a more folk-ish, classic 70's style sound earning comparison to 'Fleetwood Mac' and even 'Alan Parsons' and the like. The bands strengths like in their vocal harmonies, their periodic use of non-standard melodic structures and use of traditional instruments that still give the album a current vibe.

This album starts out with a track that turned out to be the popular 'Roscoe'. This one is a mid-tempo indie pop style song. This is the track that seems like Alan Parsons with it's standard interesting and catchy foundation not unlike 'Eye in the Sky', but the vocals have that indie vibe to them, vocals that demonstrate an interesting melody and just a little vulnerability. The lyrics introduce the main character of this concept album. The guitars become a bit more intense towards the end of the song.

'Bandits' follows up with an airy and more acoustic sounding track with strummed guitars and piano surrounded with cello, flute, synths and light percussion. Beautiful harmonies are sung on the chorus. 'Head Home' has that pre- Nicks/Buckingham 'Fleetwood Mac' sound, an easy up tempo beat with the light feeling that was present on the 'Bare Trees' album, complete with a fuzzy guitar solo during the instrumental break. In fact, the track would have fit comfortable on that album and no one would have known it was a different band altogether.

'Van Occupanther' moves to the folk sound that the band is labeled under for the Prog Archives site. The flutes and harmonies here, along with the mostly acoustic instruments give it the authentic flavor for that genre with a soft and pleasant sound. A violin starts off the track 'Young Bride' and a tapping drum fades in with the vocals. This is one of my favorites off this album, with a non-standard vocal harmony giving it a unique sound, and an almost gigue-like feel and a unique melody that really grows on you. It is also another one of the singles off the album which could make it familiar to you already.

'Branches' starts off with a solo piano and melancholic vocals. Soon, drums and other instruments join in and things swell as you reach the chorus and lovely harmonies. 'In This Camp' follows with the more mellow verses with sound driven by soft and pensive instrumentals, but the chorus is more intense as the entire band joins in and flows into a more upbeat instrumental break and bridge. This track is more complex as tempos and melodies change more often. The vocals are also reminiscent of Thom Yorke from 'Radiohead'.

'We Gathered in Spring' continues with the more complex melody, but still with the overall mellow feeling. This time the track is driven by strummed guitars and synths instead of piano. 'It Covers the Hillside' returns to a more upbeat track and is driven by a piano riff. The instrumental break starts with a fuzzy guitar, but then suddenly changes to a warbly guitar and synth which seems a bit abrupt. At this point, the formula is starting to sound a bit worn out and a little variety or a change in the feel would have been welcome. 'Chasing After Deer' has some slightly corny lyrics and continues with the same overall sound, and the same is true of the last track 'You Never Arrived'.

With a strong start on the first half of this album, the songs start to sound to similar on the second half and most of the life and emotion of the first half tend to get watered down by following the same pattern. I find that I start to lose interest in the album by the time it reaches the 2nd half, though the harmonies are nice, it tends to also lose the emotional edge that worked so well in the beginning. It is a pleasant album however, and some listeners like that sound, but I would have preferred a little more 'experimenting' in bringing in some variation.

 Bamnan And Slivercork by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.21 | 14 ratings

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Bamnan And Slivercork
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although the indie folk with progressive touches band MIDLAKE from Denton, TX was formed back in 1999 by a group of jazz students at the University of North Texas College of Music, they slowly but surely turned their love of funk jazz fusion influenced primarily by Herbie Hancock to a more indie rock / folk sound. The band leader Tim Smith who originally started out on sax become obsessed by prog folk and space pop from the likes of Jethro Tull, Radiohead, Björk and Grandaddy and after releasing their debut EP "Milkmaid Grand Army," they finally released their debut album BAMNAN AND SLIVERCORK in 2004. Right from the start MIDLAKE displayed a rather unique take on the indie pop / folk world with a touch of progressiveness that crept in more and more on each subsequent release.

BAMNAN AND SLIVERCORK, a title of mysterious meaning borrows heavily from a 90s Radiohead sort of acoustic mopeyness laced with all kinds of electronic embellishments. The songs are primarily structured in the world of folk with lots of acoustic guitar but the bass and drums are prominent as well. There are also extra touches of flute, bassoon and piano. Every so often electric guitar makes a presence as well. While Tim Smith may do a good Thom Yorke mimic on vocals on the debut, the album comes across with a less surreal and more pop focused rhythmic drive that has a touch of "Sgt Pepper's" era Beatles coming to mind with lyrical contents more in line with Grandaddy's "Software Slump" which bemoans the age of technological domination.

One of the major flaws of BAMNAN AND SLIVERCORK is the fact that early on in the 21st century they chose to record a folk album in lo-fi which has given this album a black eye in the larger canon of the band. Personally i don't find this to be justified as it isn't as dreadful as the term can imply. True that a much lusher production could have suited the style they were pursuing with BAMNAN AND SLIVERCORK but in the end isn't an impediment to the full enjoyment of a series of great tracks that have just the right balance between indie pop, indie rock, indie folk and neo-psychedelia. The progressive touches that become more apparent on future albums are a little scarce on this one but still the unconventional approach to their songwriting does come off as a tad eccentric.

This is hardly the type of album that will appeal to many prog folk aficionados but for those who are heavily steeped in indie rock acts bizarre off-kilter musical antics will find this extremely palatable as it runs the gamut from 60s album influences such as "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys to more recent act's such as the indie folk charm of Neutral Milk Hotel. Ultimately upon first listen, BAMNAN AND SLIVERCORK will most remind of the "Hail To The Thief" phase of Radiohead with the same musical quirks that can often throw a band into the clone category but nonetheless despite the blatant influences on this debut album, MIDLAKE hold their own quite well. While the band hadn't quite found their true sound yet that they could call their own this debut album is quite the fun little listen and in many ways i prefer this one to the ones that come later because it's a playful bouncy little album that isn't trying to hard too impress.

3.5 stars but rounded UP ↑ cuz it ain't gettin' nuff' ♥ in these here parts

 Bamnan And Slivercork by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.21 | 14 ratings

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Bamnan And Slivercork
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars On this debut MIDLAKE established its "lo-fi" credentials, which were subsequently wagged off the drawing board by the tails of Mr Occupanther a few years later. While this quirky pop disk possesses a certain charm, particularly in the early going, the overall impression that I can't shake is that it's rather silly, amateurish and half-hearted. I know this is likely the point of the exercise and the whole lo fi movement. but I can't see a lot of prog fans embracing the utter lack of gravitas any more than the quirky instrumentation that sounds like a hack saw being bent just so, so often. That said, I have read reviews describing this as their most proggy and best release, but you've been forewarned.

When I saw the band live a few years ago, they made light of this material and strongly implied that they would just as soon omit it. If this were an EP containing the best tracks, like "They Cannot Let it Expand", "Balloon Maker", "King fish pies" and "Some of them were superstitious", it might garner a favorable rating just for its off kilter BEACH BOYS meets BEATLES whimsy on 21st century designer drugs, but, really, the last half is utterly extraneous even by the modest standards set by the first. One can discern a superficial kinship with some of the lighter fare out of the Canterbury scene, but when you gingerly cross the wobbly suspension bridge, you'll find yourself in a Texas college town, where apparently, by state law, students can now carry concealed guns. I might suggest that this disk be the first and only victim.

 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 28 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Midlake's first album after the departure of front man and chief songwriter, Tim Smith. Tim Smith's talents are considerable but Antiphon shows us just how talented Smith's band mates are--and how their founder's talents may, in fact, have overshadowed and suppressed the full display of Midlake's true potential.

This is an amazing album. A very smooth, melodic, instrumentally diverse and sophisticated album on which the participation and contributions of every member of the whole band is strongly felt.

I am in total bliss as I listen to songs 5 through 10, "Vale" (4:31), "Aurora Gone" (4:38), "Ages" (4:39), "This Weight" (3:34), "Corruption" (5:18), "Provider Reprise" (5:01). They are all, each and everyone, masterpieces of Prog Folk. And the opening four songs are very strong, very interesting, as well.

One of my favorite Prog Folk albums of all-time--and much preferable to Van Occupanther.

 The Courage Of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.12 | 73 ratings

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The Courage Of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I find this album quite a step down from 2006's masterful Trials of Van Occupanther. The songs are much more lead vocal dominant and Tim Smith's lead vocals are much more monotonous. Slow monotone drone-like singing that sounds tired. Gone is the beautiful, evenly mixed blend of instruments and harmonized vocals. Gone is the upbeat, sometimes playful bounce and singing styles. No song stands out above the others as half a dozen on Van Occupanther border on stunning and spectacular. The one redeeming factor of The Courage of Others is the slight movement toward a sound more fitting to the prog world--like the Prog Folk groups of the 1970s and less like the perky Indie pop groups of the Naughties.

Album highlights: the delicate, emotional title song (3:20) (9/10); the insistent "Bring Down" (3:42) (9/10); the electrified "Winter Dies" (5:07) (8/10) and "Small Mountain" (3:39) (8/10).

This is a decent although monotonous album. Good for three stars.

 The Trials Of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.88 | 38 ratings

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The Trials Of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A brilliant album of quite intricate and subtly constructed songs. A songwriting style that seems common to many Midlake songs is used to great success here: that is the process of slowly adding an assortment of instruments to flit and playfully dance around the lead vocal. Quite remarkable and endearing.

1. Fan favorite "Roscoe" (4:49) is not one of my personal favorites. (8/10)

2. "Bandits" (4:04) is a multi-dimensional, multi-part song that really displays a lust for story telling through the music as well as through the lyric. Quite an intricate display of composition and performance. One of the album's best. (9/10)

3. "Head Home" (5:45) contains some of my favorite vocal arrangements that I've heard in a long time--with quite daring and unexpected changes in direction and melody. (9/10)

4. "Van Occupanther" (3:15) is augmented by some stunningly delightful flute and woodwind play thorough out the song--brilliantly offsetting the flat-toned lead vocal. It's as if the vocal is the foundation and everybody else is dancing playfully around him. Amazing! My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

5. "Young Bride" (4:56) is a brilliant song in the vein of RODDY FRAME/AZTEC CAMERA and ARCADE FIRE. Another favorite. (10/10)

6. "Branches" (5:03) slows things down and gets a little bogged down in the syrup of the lyric & lead vocal. Nice piano work and song shifts. (8/10)

7. "In This Camp" (5:44) sees Tim Smith singing in that FLEET FOXES style upper register. Again nice piano support and subtle incidentals before the song crashes into the eminently cathy chorus melody. (9/10)

8. "We Gathered in Spring" (3:33) sees the band singing in some of the tightest, most even harmonies--CROSBY, STILLS & NASH and AMERICA-like. Beautiful. (9/10)

9. "It Covers the Hillsides" (3:14) is upbeat and bouncy in a MAMAS & THE PAPAS/JOHN SEBASTIAN way. (8/10)

10. "Chasing After Deer" (2:42) is another delicately embellished song--subtle instrumental touches gathering around the solid, beautifully sung lead vocal. (8/10)

11. "You Never Arrived" (1:39) (8/10)

An imaginative display of thoughtful, playful, yet beautifully executed song craftsmanship. 4.5 stars rated up for being so refreshing.

 The Courage Of Others by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.12 | 73 ratings

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The Courage Of Others
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Midlake play indie folk rock that draws extensively on the magical, mystical stylings of electric British folk rock of the style of the likes of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span or Pentangle, with perhaps a strong dash of Strawbs to spice things up. These aren't the typical indie folk influences, so it follows that this ain't your typical indie folk album - instead, as the rather druid- themed cover implies, you're looking at a mystic folk rock journey reminiscent of the dreamy medievalism that crept into the electric folk scene in Britain much more than it did with the likes of, say, Neil Young or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Enchanting.
 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 28 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Though only having briefly heard their second "folkish" album Occupanther and their psychier Courage, I never really thought of Midlake as a prog folk or folk-prog group, but then again, my only experience with the band (so far) is their latest/fourth: the impressive Antiphon. The sober artwork is intriguing enough with mainly black but also red-orange-yellow and pale green colours throughout the gatefold and lyric sheet.

Their music is a form of alternate rock with some prog touches, not least of which is a generally luxuriant array of instruments - vintage or sampled remains to be seen, since we don't have the right of information in the leaflet - though a quick glance on PA gave me the answer I was looking for. In many ways, we're somewhere between Muse, Decemberist, the 90's Radiohead, Paatos and a few more of the ilk. This change in direction is probably the result of their former leader, but the band doesn't seem to suffer from his departure, thus hinting they might've had bigger roles than initially thought. The first few tracks are very accessible and dare I say slightly poppy, though relatively fast and "rock". About halfway through, the general mood is calmer and more introspective, maybe a tad proggier, because it seems that more space is left to the instrumental passages, especially in the haunting Ages. Another highlight is Corruption with his delicate textures, not unlike Landberk or Paatos.

So, if there were folk influences in their previous albums, in the present, they'd have o be buried pretty deep should there be any. Never mind the pigeonholes; we're left with a fairly interesting album of modern prog that probably exceeds what one might have expected from a band having lost their artistic leader.

 Antiphon by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 28 ratings

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Antiphon
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by 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?

 The Trials Of Van Occupanther by MIDLAKE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.88 | 38 ratings

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The Trials Of Van Occupanther
Midlake Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars If the career of a successful band is comprised of a number of breakthroughs in audience acclaim and artistic achievement, then "Trials of Van Occupanther" marks the first breakthrough for this earnest Denton, TX band.

In addition to its transfixing if somewhat opaque story line and uniformity, as opposed to redundancy, of style, "Van Occupanther" represents probably the most convincing album of 1970s influenced art rock recorded by artists too young to remember that decade first hand. The almost non stop emotive melodies pay homage to FLEETWOOD MAC, AMERICA, LOGGINS AND MESSINA, THE EAGLES, and some Brits like DIRE STRAITS, AMAZING BLONDEL (post John Gladwin period) and MAGNA CARTA. No one influence dominates, although the laid back California sound of that period often returns to impart the sensuous shivery awe of a sunny, tranquil west coast day. At the same time, the group has distilled the most enduring aspects of the music of that period, and produced one of the freshest albums of its own decade. I actively dislike most of the EAGLES output, recognize AMERICA's limitations, find MAGNA CARTA a bit boring, enjoy a few LOGGINS and MESSINA songs in small doses, ok I do love FLEETWOOD MAC, but my point is that MIDLAKE concocts an eclectic and more emotionally grounded vision.

On first listens this is just pleasant enough, but it is with every return visit to MIDLAKE's alternate reality that one comes to appreciate the album's ability to transport its audience. Its progressive virtues slowly and shyly reveal themselves in tracks like the stunning "Young Bride", which hints at the band's upcoming subservience to all matters English; "Branches", which shuffles along before tastefully bursting out; "In this Camp" and the plaintive keeper "Bandits". But really, all the material presented here is good or better, ultimately made excellent by the manner in which it is loyally compiled. Yes, even, maybe especially, the FLEETWOOD MAC related indulgences like "Roscoe" and driving beauty "Head Home",

While not matching the immediate impact of the follow up "The Courage of Others", "Trials of Van Occupanther" may ultimately prove more sustaining. Time will tell, but, in the case of "Trials" the verdict is in.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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