Sympathetic Stupid

Friday, September 22, 2006

Start Spreading The News

So, I'm back in town after a European odyssey not yet fully documented in the blog linked below. To celebrate my return I've spent large amounts of money on CDs, with mixed results. There is one I really want to mention, right now:

Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

I'd downloaded bits of the album, notably Roscoe and Head Home. Both of which I still think are good tracks. The album as a whole is whimsical and smooth with a wide variety of styles, mostly pretty competent though getting a bit MOR in places. (Just learnt that acronym so I'm probably using it in the wrong.) It's almost the definition of a solid indie pop album, a little bit interesting but not too challenging for the masses.

But this minute I'm listening, on repeat, to We Gathered in Spring and It Covers the Hillsides. It's the upfront synth which makes these. Key moment 1: 23 seconds into We Gathered in Spring - "I think they were giants" with the simple synth chords. Key moment 2: 1:51 in when we're gifted with a transcendental climbing keyboard solo. Key moment 3: 6 seconds into It Covers the Hillsides when the noodling synth and piano are given purpose by the top-string bass riff, and the best driving beat on the album. Key moment 4: 1:06 in, after "head out towards the ocean", when we get into the bridge, with dueling guitar and synth solos all underpinned by that single-malt rhythm section.

An honourable mention to Head Home 2:21: "There's someone I like to see/She never mentions a word to me/She reads Leviathan", and the room-filling layered guitars temporarily pull back to reveal the piano line hidden underneath.

It's a pretty fun album, possibly a great one, definitely better than Bamnan and Slivercork. I'm way looking forward to seeing these guys at Meredith.