(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Bamnan and Silvercork (2004), 6/10
The Trials Of Van Occupanther (2006), 6.5/10
The Courage Of Others (2010), 5/10

Midlake, a quintet from Texas fronted by singer/songwriter Tim Smith, debuted with the mild psychedelic pop of the EP Milkmaid Grand Army (2001) and of the album Bamnan and Silvercork (2004), containing the catchy Balloon Maker, but reached maturity with the concept album The Trials Of Van Occupanther (2006), that boasted the radio-friendly soft ballads Roscoe, It Covers the Hillside Bandits, Head Home, and Young Bride (the latter boasting the album's most interesting rhythm). Their calmly melancholy country-infected sound brings back memories of the mellow singer-songwriters of the 1970s (John Denver, Don McLean, Jackson Browne) coupled with the pop hooks of the Alan Parsons Project and the Electric Light Orchestra and delivered in a slick, lyrical production. They concoct chamber arrangements (piano, organ, strings, flute) and vocal harmonies for folkish tunes such as Bandits (the album's standout), like Jethro Tull without the hard-rock guitar. Browne's influence is evident in breezy ballads such as Head Home. Midlake represents the apex of the Seventies revival that took place in the first decade of the new century. A lot of filler sinks the album as a whole, though.

The Courage Of Others (Bella Union, 2010) is graceful and erudite, but a bit too stale.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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