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The Trials Of Van Occupanther CD

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Amazon's Midlake Store


Image of album by Midlake


Image of Midlake


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.

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The Trials Of Van Occupanther + The Courage Of Others + Antiphon
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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 (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,947 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

Product Description

MIDLAKE The Trials Of Van Occupanther CD


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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By C. Cook on 25 Mar. 2007
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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. R. Gunn on 19 Jun. 2006
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 By J. W. Bassett on 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Reddish on 13 Sept. 2006
Format: Audio CD
....with a brilliant follow-up to Bamnan and Slivercork (which was excellent too). Soft, mellow but with a beautiful way of working with lyrics to project clear imagery on the listener.

I've had this album since release, but I felt compelled to write this because at first listen it would be easy to let this pass through your headspace. However, after a few listens, it dawns on you why people talk so highly of this group of guys from the US.

I don't like to go through each track and pick the merits out, but particular praise to Branches which is simply sublime and in my eyes is a stand-out track on this album. Midlake have really raised the bar with this release and it will be interesting to see which way the band will go from this point.

Hopefully, they'll continue putting out great albums like this.
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