10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Come on in, the Water's Lovely!,
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This review is from: The Trials Of Van Occupanther (Audio CD)
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!