Sunday, August 23, 2015

Midlake - The Courage of Others

2010's The Courage of Others is the follow up to the critically acclaimed Trials of Van Occupanther, and it's even mellower than its predecessor.  Soft, folk-rock abounds, beginning with Acts of Man and continuing through tracks such as Winter Dies and Small Mountain.  Standard rock instruments are joined by flute, recorder, dulcimer, autoharp and even bassoon!   The slightly heavier guitars of Core of Nature are a welcome interruption to the soporific atmosphere.

But at its core this album proclaims its love for seventies soft rock like Crosby Stills and Nash (Fortune, Children of the Grounds), Blue Oyster Cult (Rulers, Ruling All Things, The Horn) and Fleetwood Mac (the title track).  It's not all hoary old dinosaur music, Bring Down could be early Radiohead wearing flower garlands, and there's enough variety with the guitar playing to prevent Midlake from being total retreads, the Marr-like picking on closing track In The Ground being a fine example of this.

The album suffers a little from lack of variety, it's a little one-paced.  Although the musicianship, playing and the overall sound of the album is excellent, the odd burst of noise here and there wouldn't go astray.