Album Reviews

Midlake – Antiphon (REVIEW) 2013

The Texas outfit Midlake releases their 4th full-length studio album today, titled Antiphon.

What’s somewhat unique about this group is its members’ past histories in jazz training and education, which is very prevalent in the composition on Antiphon. The album has sort of a 60’s-jammy vibe to it, saturated with crazy vocal harmonies (a good example of this is the track “Ages”, with it’s long drawn-out vocal harmony stacking into various dissonant chords).

With Midlake being all seasoned musicians, it’s no wonder why the structure and build of these tracks is fairly advanced. Anyone with any sort of experience in musical composition will recognize this immediately. And for that, the album sounds quite interesting and perks up the ears. At first, anyway…

By the end of the record, I felt it had dragged on a bit. While there’s mild variety between tracks, it wasn’t enough to hold acute attention after the first 2 or 3 songs. I was forced to let it drone in the background while I got other work done, and that is something I see regularly in many artists today. Singer Tim Smith’s vocal patterns here are jazzy and often throw my expectations off (which is a very good thing) but the style never really changes, and I find the melodies getting predictable… as unpredictable as they seem out of the gate.

Save maybe “Vale”, the rest of the record blends together as though it was one long song. In this instance, some might say that it’s a “mood record”, a “theme record” or a “concept album”… but so was Radiohead’s Kid A, an album that had far more ups and downs than Antiphon. Ben Folds Five’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner was actually written to be one long piece of music (which they later cut up into tracks), and that record had much more variety to it as well.

Bottom Line: Antiphon is a very well done body of work from Midlake… it just fails to excite after more than a few minutes; the main culprit being the lack of dynamics from song to song. The album might serve best as a droning soundtrack to a moody day… just don’t count on it to be the focal point of it.

Rating: 7/10.

 

If you’d like to catch Midlake on their supporting tour, here are the dates and locations:

 

Date Venue Location Tickets
  Nov 05 Brighton Music Hall

Allston, MA Tickets RSVP
  Nov 06 Mercury Lounge

New York, NY Tickets RSVP
  Nov 09 Rock and Roll Hotel

Washington, DC Tickets RSVP
  Nov 10 Johnny Brenda’s

Philadelphia, PA Tickets RSVP
  Nov 11 Local 506

Chapel Hill, NC Tickets RSVP
  Nov 12 The EARL

Atlanta, GA Tickets RSVP
  Nov 13 The End

Nashville, TN Tickets RSVP
  Nov 15 American Airlines Center

Dallas, TX Tickets RSVP
  Nov 16 Chesapeake Energy Arena

Oklahoma City, OK Tickets RSVP
  Dec 04 Old Rock House

St Louis, MO Tickets RSVP
  Dec 05 Schubas

Chicago, IL Tickets RSVP
  Dec 06 Turf Club

St Paul, MN Tickets RSVP
  Dec 07 Riot Room

Kansas City, MO Tickets RSVP
  Dec 08 The Waiting Room

Omaha, NE Tickets RSVP
  Dec 09 Larimer Lounge

Denver, CO Tickets RSVP
  Dec 10 Urban Lounge

Salt Lake City, UT Tickets RSVP
  Dec 12 The Crocodile

Seattle, WA Tickets RSVP
  Dec 13 Wonder Ballroom

Portland, OR Tickets RSVP
  Dec 14 Fortune Sound Club

Vancouver, Canada Tickets RSVP
  Dec 16 Bottom of the Hill

San Francisco, CA Tickets RSVP
  Dec 20 The Parish Austin, TX Tickets RSVP
  Dec 21 Texas Theatre

Dallas, TX Tickets RSVP
  Dec 30 Belly Up Aspen

Aspen, CO Tickets RSVP
  Dec 31 Belly Up Aspen

Aspen, CO Tickets RSVP
  Feb 20 The Ritz Manchester, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Feb 21 Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Feb 22 O2 ABC Glasgow, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Feb 23 Vicar St Dublin, Ireland Tickets RSVP
  Feb 25 Anson Rooms Bristol, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Feb 26 O2 Shepherds Bush Empire London, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Feb 27 St George’s Church Brighton, United Kingdom Tickets RSVP
  Mar 02 AB Flex Brussels, Belgium Tickets RSVP
  Mar 03 Le Trianon Paris, France Tickets RSVP
  Mar 04 Tivoli Utrecht, Netherlands Tickets RSVP
  Mar 05 Gloria Cologne, Germany Tickets RSVP
  Mar 06 LES DOCKS Lausanne, Switzerland Tickets RSVP
  Mar 07 Komplex Klub Zürich, Switzerland Tickets RSVP
  Mar 08 Tunnel Milan, Italy Tickets RSVP
  Mar 09 Freiheiz Munich, Germany Tickets RSVP
  Mar 12 Uebel & Gefährlich Hamburg, Germany Tickets RSVP
  Mar 13 Voxhall Aarhus, Denmark Tickets RSVP
  Mar 14 Pumpehuset Copenhagen, Denmark Tickets RSVP
  Mar 15 ROCKEFELLER Oslo, Norway Tickets RSVP
  Mar 16 Berns Stockholm, Sweden Tickets RSVP
  Mar 18 The Circus Helsinki, Finland Tickets RSVP
  Mar 21 Pustervik Gothenburg, Sweden Tickets RSVP
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