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The Trials Of Van Occupanther [CD]

Midlake Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
Price: 7.44 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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An antiphon is a call-and-response style of singing, from Gregorian chants to sea shanties. In the case of Denton, Texas’ favorite sons Midlake, it’s the perfect title for a bold response to a new phase in the band’s illustrious career, with a re-jigged line-up and a newly honed sound as rich and symphonic as it is dynamic and kaleidoscopic.

Anyone who knows ... Read more in Amazon's Midlake Store

Visit Amazon's Midlake Store
for 11 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

The Trials Of Van Occupanther + Antiphon + The Courage Of Others
Price For All Three: 22.31

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  • Antiphon 7.42
  • The Courage Of Others 7.45

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 May 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Bella Union
  • ASIN: B000F3ALAG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,135 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Roscoe
2. Bandits
3. Head Home
4. Van Occupanther
5. Young Bride
6. Branches
7. In This Camp
8. We Gathered in Spring
9. It Covers the Hillsides
10. Chasing After Deer
11. You Never Arrived

Product Description

Midlake are a relatively small indie band, so the level of ambition they display on The Trials of Van Occupanther is to be commended. From the opening track, "Roscoe", with it's laconic lyrics and slowly building chorus, they manage to recreate perfectly the sound of 1980s Fleetwood Mac, a band not known for thinking small. And though the rest of the album doesn't quite reach the heady heights of this opener, it's not for a lack of trying (particularly on "Head Home"). The remainder of The Trials of Van Occupanther is considerably more downbeat, with distant flutes complementing the vocal harmonies of songs like "Bandits" and "Branches". Where Midlake particularly excel, though, is when, like Grandaddy before them, they draw their inspiration from the classic rock that they seem to love so much, adapting and modernising it. So in addition to the anthemic "Roscoe", they evoke the Gram Parsons-era Byrds or even The Band on "Van Occupanther" and the road-ready "It Covers the Hillsides". The Trials of Van Occupanther is an album that's steeped in musical history, yet possessing an identity all it's own. --Ted Kord

Product Description

MIDLAKE The Trials Of Van Occupanther CD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born in 1891...? 25 Mar 2007
By C. Cook
Format:Audio CD
Midlake's second studio album (after nearly a year and a half of recording and re-recording) is a lush, heavily melodic record, laden with multi-part harmonies and evocative lyrical imagery set in woodlands, boats and log cabins; telling oblique but moving tales of pioneering, travel and isolation. With flutes, accoustics and inspiring use of analog synthesizers, this album has been compared, quite rightly to vintage 1970's folk-pop and rock such as Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell.

For me, despite the American tales, Midlake sound as though someone has given a pair of guitars, synths and a drumkit to a Victorian orchestra and said "Here you go, make a band".

The wonderful use of imagery, really takes the listener away, particularly on the opening three tracks. 'Bandits' has a beautiful message to deliver with it's enlightning questions, and the album opener, 'Roscoe' is a melliflous euphony of archaic sounds. Particular praise must go for the wonderfully mysterious 'Young Bride', the transporting and harmonious 'In This Camp' and 'Branches', and the iconic 'It Covers The Hillside'.

I bought this album on the back of briefly hearing one track on the Radio, and instantly realised I had to own it. I was not disapointed and for weeks, the CD never made it back from the player to the case...

Even if you've never heard anything by Midlake, or have only discovered this album now by accident, I strongly suggest you buy it. This, an unheard album of last year, is a wondorous acheivement and a melodic massage to anyones weary ears...
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This album is great. As another reviewer points out, there are hints of other bands and artists, such as Radiohead and harmonic vocals that could be likened to Simon & Garfunkel, but the sound is entirely their own.

The album opens with Roscoe, which unleashes all of the talent that Midlake has to offer through great lyrics and harmonies backed with fab guitar's n drums - this could well be a single.

They then bring in a range of other instruments and sounds throughout the album, such as the piano in In This Camp, the viola in Young Bride and a glistening 80's-sounding synthesiser in We Gathered In Spring. All this whilst retaining the great harmonies, which sound like the vocal equivalent of a 12-string acoustic guitar.

They have also gone to the trouble of finishing most of the songs, rather than the uninspired fade out that most bands plump for.

This, so far, is my album of 2006 (Vetiver coming a close second). A fantasically lucid and well-constructed album, which is more of a story than a string of unrelated songs. Oh - and don't be put off by the bizarre cover!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lake Fantastic 2 Jun 2006
Format:Audio CD
With Grandaddy no more, The Flaming Lips pushing farther and farther into space and Mercury Rev seemingly on a self-imposed hiatus, a gap has opened for a quirksome, melodic, psychedelic American band. Enter Denton, Texas, five-piece, Midlake.

The Trials Of Van Occupanther is Midlake's second album and while their debut, Bamnam & Silvercork, was, at times, primitive, the new album is a fully-realised beast. Roscoe, driven by keyboards and both charming and infectious, is a perfect opening statement from a band who sound much more confident two years on from their full-length debut.

Like Grandaddy - to whom the band are most often compared - Midlake's chief concern, at least on their new album, appears to be a desire to retreat from modern day materialism to a more simple life of honest toil and nature. In the case of the album's fictional titular hero, this means invisibly transporting pales of water.

But while there's a degree of fantasy in the album's midst, singer Tim Smith's lyrics prove that The Trials Of Van Occupanther is grounded in reality. The gothic crawl of Branches gives us the biggest insight into Midlake's world as Smith sings, "we won't get married, because she won't have me", before closing the song with the heartbreaking refrain: "it's hard for me, but I'm trying".

Smith's bandmates have also clearly become more adventurous since Bamnam & Silvercork. Home sees the band adding fuzzy guitar solos to their repertoire, while In This Camp too proves that the band are equally adept at cultivating soon-to-be indie anthems.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come on in, the Water's Lovely! 3 Jun 2007
By Mr. B. A. D. Plowman VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I've come to this CD a year too late (not a bad thing; I often get in to music retrospectively). I sure am glad I purchased it, though. This album, for want of a better phrase, is very EASY ON THE EAR. It's Easy Listening in the best possible sense.

The tunes are smooth, linear and sedate. I completely understand all the 70's references this band have been recieving. However, we are not dealing with cheesy 1970's pastiche here. I believe it's more a case of Midlake's influences coming out quite naturally in their music, rather than the band deliberately trying to sound a certain way. The arrangements are generally sublime - simple chord structures built around piano, guitar and crisp beats. Many of the tunes are also embellished with lush orchestration (flutes and strings).

I'm a particular fan of the vocal stylings here - lots of sleepy harmonies and if I were pushed I would probably venture that the lead vocalist sounds a bit like Thom Yorke... on VALIUM!

This album is extremely consistent from start to finish and its subtlety and softness means that the music evolves with each listen. My personal favourite at the moment is "In This Camp", which is something of a minor symphony - filled with changes in tempo and a rousing, emotive chorus. I'm also rather fond of "It Covers the Hillsides" - an upbeat Summery number with fetching Charlie Brown piano.

"The Trials of Van Occupanther" has a great vibe, and I think everyone should experience it. Here's a telling point :- On the day I purchased this disc I played the entire album 3 times and I still couldn't get enough! That was 2 weeks ago and I've had it on heavy rotation ever since.

I wait with baited breath for the next release - until then I'll just keep on playing this to death!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Beautiful
A deliciously tuneful piece of Americana as Midlake go commercial without losing any of their originality. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Peter Steward
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok start.
Typical first album. Some great ideas and a few fully-formed songs. NOT as good as The Courage of Others but certainly worth a go.
Published 6 months ago by Flakey Blakey
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Sounds!!
This is a great collection of songs; dreamy lyrics; some tight riffs and drumming and the melodies are wonderful, one of my personal favourites!!
Published 7 months ago by Pagelino
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent seller
Quick, easy purchase! No issues. CD in excellent condition & just as described. Happy customer! Would recommend this seller & the band!
Published 10 months ago by Miss L D Lang
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vinyl of Van Occupanther
I have listened to this album so many times since 2006, Certainly in my top 5 of the 2000s. This is a review of the vinyl, which was rereleased for Record Store Day. Read more
Published 14 months ago by P. J. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Proper heartfelt stuff. A real gem, recommended for any one who likes their alt country or Americana. In the same thread as Low, The National etc.
Published 15 months ago by Max.Ohagan111
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe Bonamassa - Live From The Royal Albert Hall [DVD] [2009]
Joe Bonamassa - Live From The Royal Albert Hall [DVD] [2009]Joe Bonamassa - Live From The Royal Albert Hall [DVD] [2009]
Published 16 months ago by Visa
5.0 out of 5 stars Midlake
Their 2nd LP released in 2006. It was fairly well received by critics, if that matters to you? Midlake are a good folk rock band or progressive folk, which ever genre you care to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by I write reviews on the toilet
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
This is a fantastic record, I'd never heard of Midlake until I heard a track from this album on a free compliation CD in a magazine. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Paul Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm in love with Midlake
Bought this and played it to death until my MP3 player fused.
Great songs, if you like radiohead, alt-folk or just good music then buy it!
Published 18 months ago by Mr T P Lanetos
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