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4.3 out of 5 stars
Antiphon
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2013
For me Midlake are one of those bands who sound better live than they ever have on record. They have a fare beefier and rockier sound than they have ever previously managed to capture on record. This album goes a long way to addressing this, like their previous albums there are some peaks and troughs but despite it's (very) high points I don't think I could have taken a Courage Of Others part 2, some great songs yes but also in danger of disappearing up Tim Smith's fundament, with its endless minor chord guitar arpeggios , relentless gloom and flute.
Antiphon is far more direct as far as it's sound goes, it doesn't have a killer tune like Head Home or Roscoe but is a gorgeous sounding record with only the final and rather pointless Provider (reprise) trying the patience. It takes a couple of listens but there are tunes on here that will lodge themselves in your head and from a Muso point of view is there a rock band out there more accomplished?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2014
Occupanther was o perfect, and Courage so personal - it was always going obe hard to make it three in a row, and they haven't.
This i OK, and did sound better when I saw them live at Hammersmith - but the format of the songs grates a little on me - lots of carefully worded, repeating anthems, almost designed for a non-singer to sing. I wish them the best as the really put on a great show and are a true fans band - but this is a 3 at best.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The recent news that Tim Smith the architect of much of Midlake's music had departed the band will have sounded alarm bells and could be seen as fatal for this bunch of intrepid musicians from Denton Texas. As the driving force behind the classic-rock revivalism of the stunning "Trials of the Van Occupanther" and the marginally less successful folk rock of 2010s "Courage of others", Smith's finicky musical perfectionism has dominated this band. Yet following that album this same trait pulled the band apart. Despite nearly two years spent together trying to record a new album entitled "Seven long suns" Smith has subsequently admitted that only one song emerged from these sessions. He has since honestly reflected on his position within the band that "I knew I was holding them back and I knew some of them felt the same way"

So what about the remaining members, have they managed to plug the gap on this new album "Antiphon"? It is a pleasure to report that the answer is affirmative. It is an album more tuned into the vibes of "Van Occupanther" and the songs written over a six month period are very strong. Eric Pulido, who's also the band's guitarist, is the new frontman and is well supported by his fellow members. On first listens this is a more upbeat band than some of the dour fare that so dogged the latter part of "Courage". The title track "Antiphon" is a big melodic psychedelic rock number which grows enormously in stature on repeated listens. The song "The Old and the Young" will lead some to reflect why had not the song writing skills of other band members been drawn upon to a greater degree. It is a joyous aural assault full of pounding bass and a very strong vocal by Pulido. The haunting song "Provider" is a musical au revoir to Smith and is as good as anything the band has previously committed to vinyl. It sees them stretching out into wider sonic swirls and psychedelic guitar licks

There are couple of songs that don't immediately appeal not least "Ages" which does not initially fire at any level, but is stronger on subsequent plays. Similarly the instrumental "Vale" does take some time to get off the ground and is not particularly interesting when it does. Yet the lovely "Aurora Gone" makes up for any deficiency in its slow simmering acoustic beauty. One of the standout tracks "Its going down" also builds on the past and is a lovely tapestry of sound. Overall the departure of their widely acknowledged creative leader has ben cleverly navigated by Midlake and they hold on to this valuable brand name with real pride and genuine authenticity. "Antiphon" is no "stop gap" or intermission. It takes the bands music forward and deserves the success which will undoubtedly follow.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2013
So,so pleased the departure of Tim Smith hasn't signalled the end of this great band. Although he was obviously a guiding light and main songwriter with Midlake, having seen the band live on a couple of occasions, I always felt there was a unspoken musical bond with all the members which should be allowed to live beyond Tim's tenure with the band. This is another superb addition the Midlake discography which will delight anyone who enjoyed Van Occ. or Courage (both modern classics). This, in time could even surpass those fine albums as Midlake's best (so far). Nice one chaps...See you in Feb :)
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on 12 February 2015
Well I am pleased Tim Smith has left. The material was getting rather boring... You could really not tell one track from another on their previous album but this new one is fantastic in every way

Better vocal writing, more varied and interesting arrangements and a welcome return to a 70s feel - at times almost like the Canterbury sound.
Well done lads, let's have another one!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2013
A very good record, lots of prog rock references, but that's a good thing. I am pleasantly surprised that they have managed to produce a great record with out Tim Smith. Well done guys!
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on 14 July 2014
excellent good and well pleased
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on 15 May 2014
this is a must for any music lover,great feel good music, just flows from start to finish..looking forward to seeing them live in july
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on 4 April 2014
I love this album. If you are a fan of the Peter Gabriel Genesis era, you are going to hear lots of influences throughout the album with Mike Rutherford bass runs, symphonic crescendos, flutes and general folky prog rock greatness. After the four singe tracks, the rest of the album needs an extra listen to grow into, but this album hasn't left my car CD player in weeks. A masterpiece of an album which of course won't get massive commercial appeal,but that's why we love this music...go buy it.
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on 8 March 2014
If you've never heard of Midlake - try it! Beautiful melodic folky proggy chillout music. Love their previous albums too.
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