Midlake - The Courage Of Others

Texan quintet return
Midlake - The Courage Of Others
The much loved Midlake finally resurface following 2006’s lost, and quite strange, classic ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’. ‘Occupanther’ remains one of those albums that those in the know rave about while others looked on baffled as you try to described it’s premise (hermit scientists who live in the woods). 

Where ‘TTOVO’ drew upon the Seventies rock of Fleetwood Mac for it’s palette of sound, ‘The Courage Of Others’ sees the Texan quintet look to Fairport Convention and their ilk for a more British folk centred source material. Bravo to the guys for taking a conscious decision to move away from their very recognizable sound but how does their bold move work on record? Album opener ‘Acts Of Man’ sounds like a medieval CS&Y with delicate flute weaving around Tim Smith’s understated delivery.

‘Winter Dies’ is a little closer to the Seventies rock of ‘The Trials Of Van Occupanther’ but recorded in the depths of mid winter, the frost supplying the sparkle. Midway through the album is ‘Fortune’, a slight yet pretty acoustic song before ‘Rulers, Ruling All Things’ teases with an opening similar to ‘Occupanther’’s fan favourite ‘Roscoe’ and we move towards the melancholic euphoria of ‘Bring Down’ featuring guest vocals from Stephanie Dosen.

‘The Horn’ opens with a rousing rock riff before settling down into the flute decorated nu-Midlake template, a similar situation to ‘The Courage Of Others’ where a distorted wah solo arrives rather incongruously to liven things up. The suitably named ‘In The Ground’ ends things on a low key fashion. ‘The Courage Of Others’ is a suitable album for today’s perma-frost Britain, what we’ll make of it when the Sun comes out I’m not sure.

7/10

Words by Nick Annan

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