Midlake, Sarah Jaffe | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Midlake, Sarah Jaffe 

When: Thu., Dec. 5, 9 p.m. 2013
Texas indie-folk group Midlake won me over with its elegant, quasi-symphonic sophomore record, 2006’s The Trials of Van Occupanther. Its rich vocal melodies, delicate acoustic strumming, and dainty piano evoke a relaxing stroll through the woods when they’re just beginning to bloom—“We Gathered in Spring” and “Young Bride” felt so lushly arboreal in their density of detail that they stood out among all the other genteel indie rock I was voraciously consuming at the time. Midlake followed up with the merely decent The Courage of Others in 2010, and last year front man Tim Smith quit after the band had spent two years working on a new album. (The group’s Wikipedia page briefly claimed he’d left to study birds, a lie that was too perfect to be true.) Midlake guitarist Eric Pulido took over as the leader of the band, which ditched Smith’s material and put together last month’s Antiphon (ATO) in six months. It’s a cinematic album, taking cues from psych and prog, and it sits well with Midlake’s old material; Pulido’s tender singing is even reminiscent of Smith’s. Antiphon has its share of lovely moments—the woodwind bluster of “Aurora Gone,” the vivid psych of the title track—but in a way it’s like a forest, more beautiful as a whole than any of its elements could be in isolation. —Leor Galil Sarah Jaffe opens.

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