Artist of the Week: Midlake
Midlake is an American folk rock band formed in 1999 by jazz students Tim Smith (vocals and guitars), McKenzie Smith (drums), Paul Alexander (bass), Eric Nichelson (guitar) and Evan Jacobs (keyboards). After some fruitless explorations on jazz and a few line-up adjustments (Jacobs was replaced by Nichelson on keyboards and Jason Upshaw joined as a guitarist), the band leaned to indie rock sounds and finally released Bamnan and Slivercork, their Grandaddy and Flaming Lips influenced lo-fi psychedelic electronica debut, in 2004.
The band shifted gears with their sophomore effort: 2006’s The Trials of Van Occupanther was a decided plunge into rock revivalism that reminded the deep harmonies of Laurel Canyon troubadours such as Neil Young and Gene Clark. Though the laid-back balladeers formula was further explored in 2010’s The Courage of Others, the record never received the critical praise and attention of their heartfelt collaboration with The Czars frontman: Queen of Denmark, in spite of being credited as John Grant first solo record, is indeed entirely co-produced, engineered and played by the band.
The recently released Antiphon, Midlake’s fourth album and the first after the departure of former frontman Tim Smith in 2012, is an impressive combo of progressive rock, lush psychedelia and slick folk that proves that this is no damage control operation but an ambitious effort from a band in search of a new beginning.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.