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Far Better Than A Siberian Hamster
on 27 July 2011
Several years ago I stumbled across Midlake and their rather excellent Trials of Van Occupanther album. It contains the quite sublime single Roscoe and really is my choice when I want to just sit back and chill with some music that soothes and pleases in equal measures. The English Riviera might just supplant that CD now as it really does those two tasks and quite a few more. For an album that's named after the area of Devon where the head honcho comes from it has influences all over the globe. The laid back elegance of French music, Gainsbourg particularly, the electronics of the 80's new wave, the mid 80 Peter Gabriel sound (listen to She Wants and it could be off PG3 or 4), some have suggested the eagles are referenced here too although it doesn't quite pull me in that direction. However, what is always here is an incredibly well put together, melodic and memorable album.
To point at a single track or one or two would be missing the point here as its very consistent throughout. This is adult oriented pop music that pretty much delivers every time. The music lingers afterwards and you can feel yourself wanting to listen again. The vocal harmonies are good and the male and female counterparts are used well. If you want a good chilled pop album then you will be well pleased on hearing this.
Now is a good time to re-appreciate this album. The Mercury panel have deemed it worthy of the short-list and whilst it probably won't win it will get more airplay and that's exactly what it deserves.