Midlake – For The Sake of Bethel Woods – Album Review
by Killian Laher
This is Midlake’s first album in nearly nine years, just when many thought they would never return. Little has changed in the interim, they are still very much informed by 70s West Coast folk-rock. The album feels like it came out a year or two after Antiphon and it fits like a warm glove.
The music is lush and sumptuous, even on tracks like the nervous, jittery Glistening. Some tracks are more propulsive than previously – Bethel Woods and Exile will have you bopping rather than just nodding along, even Gone turns its noodling into a pleasant groove. It’s hard to escape the spectre of prog-rock at times, with Feast of Carrion’s flutes and melodies darting in different directions. Noble starts out like Sufjan Stevens’ softer moments before veering headlong up a proggy alley. Later, Meanwhile is one of the poppier songs they have ever done with its chirpy guitar licks, while Dawning has the slow creeping pulse of Provider from 2013’s Antiphon.
It’s an uneven collection, nothing jars but some tracks are a little on the forgettable side (The End), and there is no real standout tracks in the vein of Roscoe, or The Old and The Young. Still, it’s good to have them back.