I’ve talked a bit here in the past about Midlake. They are a Denton, Texas based band whose previous albums have been rather superb. Their last offering, “The Trials of Van Occupanther,” was a hipster’s dream, full of lovely little 70’s am gold songs and indie rock that all just…..fit together perfectly. Well, this past week Midlake threw us a knuckleball with their latest release, “The Courage of Others.” Gone are the memorable, near-gooey dark gems, replaced by what appears to be the second coming of Fairport Convention. I had heard rumblings that this was going to be the case, but much like “…Occupanther,” I though it would still straddle the hipster rock horse a little. It doesn’t. And yes, I love Fairport Convention’s 1968-1972 output.
The album reminds me of when I first heard the Scud Mountain Boys music. It took me nearly three months to really dig in on that band and get it. That was sometime in the mid-1990s – and I still listen to the Scuds regularly. It made it’s way into my head and snuggled in there and I can’t imagine it leaving anytime soon. That’s 15 years, so their music clearly means something to me. My comparison of the Scuds to this new Midlake album has nothing to do with sound – they don’t sound anything alike, other than the pace, I suppose.
What I mean is that “The Courage of Others” has the makings of one of those Scud albums – it will settle into a rocking chair, pull the blanket up to its neck and live warmly and snugly in my head for all eternity. But it requires work. Rocking chairs, when new, need time to develop that special comfort. Blankets need to break in. The heat takes a while to kick on. But in the week that I’ve been listening to this, I know it’s coming. The album is beautiful. Slightly morose, but beautiful. You want evidence? Of course you do. Listen to “Fortune” – click the play button below – it’s only two minutes long, too! Long live Midlake.[audio: fortune.mp3]
People of Facebook, when you’re not farming you can hear the song here.