Antiphon - Midlake

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Nov 6, 2013
    Antiphon is going to divide opinion, but give it a chance--it might just be the best thing they’ve ever done.
  2. 80
    Here they're more rock than folk--or, to be exact, more prog than folk, extending the jams and minimising the survivalist backwoodsman imagery for more obtuse bong-flavoured lyrics. [Dec 2013, p.103]
  3. Nov 21, 2013
    On Antiphon, Midlake sound like a band unburdened and read to fly. [Dec 2013, p.82]
  4. Nov 21, 2013
    These Texans stick to the plan: the concoction of very wonderful thinking-dudes' rock albums, recycling yesteryear's classic vinyl. [Dec 2013, p.110]
  5. Nov 14, 2013
    The strong creative flow guiding this record indicates that the band’s artistic direction wasn’t solely the vision of Smith.
  6. Happily, beardy-weirdy Texas psych-folkies Midlake manage to weather Tim Smith’s split with no pinch in purpose or progress.
  7. 80
    Despite the undercurrents of melancholia, Antiphon is another impeccably realised meld of bucolic 70s folk and radio-friendly soft rock, as warm and assured as it is adventurous.
  8. Nov 4, 2013
    To be fair, the band still sounds like they could break into "Breathe" at any moment, but there's a sense of adventure and a vulnerability to Antiphon that suggests that this latest incarnation of the group is more interested in what's beyond the Dark Side of the Moon than it is standing in its shadow.
  9. 80
    It's far from a perfect album--there's a ponderous solemnity to "Ages", and Pulido so far lacks Smith's compelling, visionary focus--but Antiphon extends the band's engaging, mysterious charm.
  10. Oct 31, 2013
    It might just grow into an even better record than The Courage Of Others, as one get used to the way it replaces Smith's precision and popcraft with the new Midlake's love of digression and sonic adventure. [Dec 2013, p.62]
  11. Oct 31, 2013
    Paul Alexander's detailed bass and McKenzie Smith's pattering drums bring definition and muscularity: The Old and the Young and the title track are bolder for it.
  12. Oct 31, 2013
    In the end, Antiphon feels like it should be enjoyed in one piece, preferably wearing headphones. [Dec 2013, p.98]
  13. Nov 14, 2013
    The most effective songs on Antiphon are those that one-up the band’s former approach with confidence, skill and purpose.
  14. 70
    Their apparent lack of restraint more often translates to ridiculous indulgence.... Antiphon is, however, an impressively executed album, and a true feat of musicianship in a genre that is more typically driven by songwriters lacking technical ability.
  15. 70
    While we’ll likely see the direction in which Tim Smith wanted to take the band on his forthcoming collection of songs under the moniker Harp, Midlake has made a strong statement with Antiphon, quelling the doubts surrounding Smith’s departure.
  16. Oct 30, 2013
    Is it Pulido? The absence of Smith? The third act crawl? In truth, all play a damaging part. Despite these irks, Antiphon is everything that it needs to be; a new beginning, loaded with promise. That's enough for now.
  17. Oct 30, 2013
    There are still creases to iron out, but Antiphon marks a significant step as Midlake move on to the next phase of their career.
  18. 65
    If Midlake seemed to have lost their sense of fun on The Courage of Others, though, they’ve certainly rediscovered it on Antiphon. Even in its flatter moments, at least the band themselves sound like they’re enjoying it.
  19. Jan 13, 2014
    The tempos vary, sort of, but there’s a mood on this record that’s hard to qualify and never wavers.
  20. Nov 4, 2013
    Antiphon is still a likeable, pleasant listen that will always wait for you by the hearth after a long day. But for a “forget everything you know about Midlake!” album, it's almost exactly how you remember them.
  21. Oct 30, 2013
    At times it gets a little too gentle, the warm soup of instruments and Pulidio’s soothing voice blending together into a indistinguishable slush, but when it holds together it’s a pleasant trip.
  22. Nov 20, 2013
    Everything feels uncertain, as though the band is looking to move forward onto something a bit more shoegaze but unwilling to part from the influence of Fairport Convention, and as such is a little confused.
  23. Jan 30, 2014
    Antiphon offers a band regrouping but still searching for distinct direction.
  24. They swiftly slump back into portentous jams made for mourning failed crops, made worse by the ye olde farmhand Yoda-isms of Eric Pulido.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Nov 10, 2013
    While there isn't any "Roscoe" on here, and the emotional croons of Tim Smith are definitely missed, it doesn't take long for this album to make more of an impression than "Courage of Others" did. While it does, at times, end up feeling a bit repetitive and slogged down in the same sounding rut, that rut is much more interesting and open to variety and moodiness. There are a few stand out songs on here, and it often feels like an album that the Fleet Foxes would put out after two weeks in the studio. Not a bad thing, really. Very decent album, but not likely to maintain a spot in your car CD player for more than a few weeks. Full Review »
  2. Dec 11, 2013
    This is Midlake's best work, and that says a lot. It still has that "Midlake sound" with the old time lyrics and tons of harmonies but it's even better than the Courage of Others or Trials of Van Occupather. The swirling synths, reverbed out vocals, ridiculous drums will swoon you over after one listen. If you like Midlake or not this album must be listened to immediately. Full Review »
  3. Nov 10, 2013
    Following the departure of bandleader Tim Smith, the band tries to expand its sound and refine its soft-rock approach. Unfortunately, while the musicianship is top-notch from start to finish, you can't escape thinking that there is a lack of real songs. Most of the pieces here sound more like barely organized jams than full-fledged compositions. There is a feeling that the band had taken real pleasure in doing it but they need to be more serious about songwriting next time. Full Review »