Release Date: Jul 25, 2006
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Midlake's second album is a departure from their lo-fi, psychedelic pop-influenced debut. The Trials of Van Occupanther jumps with both feet into the '70s of Laurel Canyon troubadours and soft rock balladeers. It jumps like Bob Beamon right past any other current bands treading similar ground and jumps back into time, becoming one of the best examples of the sound and style you'll ever hear, date of release notwithstanding.
As the charts heave under the weight of so-so soft rock, Midlake suggest the genre isn't all bad. From the remote rock outpost of Denton, Texas, they look lovingly to Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, but also to the darker genius of Peter Hammill. They have clearly listened closely to the Blue Nile's debut and Radiohead's OK Computer. However, they bring it all together in a vision of their own.
From electro-pop to classic-rock textures and alluring vocal harmonies, Denton fivepiece Midlake continues to elevate music, maturing structure and echo, this time without the maneuvering of technology. Where 2004's debut LP, Bamnan and Slivercork, slapped Grandaddy on the keys, exquisite sophomore disc, The Trials of Van Occupanther, instead retreats into the world of Burt Bacharach, Fleetwood Mac, and Steely Dan. Nostalgic, sure, but comforting, meticulous, and complex.