The Trials Of Van Occupanther

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36

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  1. Jul 4, 2015
    9
    The true beginning of the West Coast singer/songwriter movement of the last five years. Warm, beautiful and perfectly produced (by the band.) The songs fade wonderfully into each other creating a song cycle about love, loss and how that loss colors everything around it.
  2. Nov 1, 2012
    10
    As I write this review it has been six years since I bought this album. It has yet to lose its appeal. A better album has not been made in the those six years. It is a little known, yet classic album.
  3. Feb 27, 2012
    8
    trials 8
    It's folk/rock but Midlake sound pretty different to almost everyone else around the place at the moment. This record reminds me a little of Fleetwood Mac, kind of a 70's rock vibe off it. This is a record full of really strong songwriting, you can hear a lot of work has gone into the process of constructing the songs. It's my favourite Midlake record by a long way. "Young Bride"
    trials 8
    It's folk/rock but Midlake sound pretty different to almost everyone else around the place at the moment. This record reminds me a little of Fleetwood Mac, kind of a 70's rock vibe off it. This is a record full of really strong songwriting, you can hear a lot of work has gone into the process of constructing the songs. It's my favourite Midlake record by a long way. "Young Bride" and "Branches" are at the centre of the album and are the highlights for me.
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  4. MG.
    Dec 4, 2007
    10
    This is a really beautiful collection of songs that must have took real courage to make. There is no filter here, just music made with so much heart and care that it will change you for the better.
  5. JohnnyD
    Apr 26, 2007
    9
    Beautiful album, rich in texture and tone. One of 2006's best.
  6. EvanZ
    Feb 26, 2007
    6
    Agree with S Taylor, except maybe The Eagles is being kind. How about America?
  7. matteof
    Feb 8, 2007
    9
    so romantic, halfway between gloom and joy. "young bride" went even beyond giving plain "chills" : it made my heart soar.
  8. STaylor
    Jan 7, 2007
    7
    Well, it finally happened. The circle is complete. In the 70's, punk exploded to save rock and roll from progressive rock, singer-songwriters, etc. Now, it has all come back. We have critically acclaimed "progressive rock" (The Flaming Lips), sensitive singer-songwriters (emo, anyone?), and now...The Eagles return!!! Probably the least hip super-popular rock band of the last 35 years Well, it finally happened. The circle is complete. In the 70's, punk exploded to save rock and roll from progressive rock, singer-songwriters, etc. Now, it has all come back. We have critically acclaimed "progressive rock" (The Flaming Lips), sensitive singer-songwriters (emo, anyone?), and now...The Eagles return!!! Probably the least hip super-popular rock band of the last 35 years has returned as indie pop. Not that I don't like it. But then I like the Eagles, too. Expand
  9. cornelius
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    certainly one of the most fresh and enlightened album of the year, and maybe for many years... i can't understand some press critic could have given such low rate as 40 to this album ; yes, you could not to be pleased by "The trials...", but you can't say that's not a really good work !
  10. ChrisC
    Dec 19, 2006
    10
    best album of 2006
  11. JD
    Dec 10, 2006
    10
    My personal favorite of 2006. Great lyrics, great melodies...great time with midlake!
  12. monkeyman
    Nov 19, 2006
    9
    Midlake have given us a beautifully crafted album which deserves to be widely heard. This absolute gem is undoubtedly one of the albums of the year.
  13. GSpot
    Oct 17, 2006
    9
    Inviting and smooth. This is most likely the best underated album of the year...impress yourself with this.
  14. GraemeS
    Oct 4, 2006
    10
    Easily one of the top albums from 2006, if not the best, in my opinion. Excellent harmonies, instrumentation, and a genuine warm feel to the entire album. I challenge any music fan or chin stroker to not be moved upon hearing "Roscoe" for the first or second time. Opening up with said track sets a really high bar, but the following songs happen to match it. The second half of the disc Easily one of the top albums from 2006, if not the best, in my opinion. Excellent harmonies, instrumentation, and a genuine warm feel to the entire album. I challenge any music fan or chin stroker to not be moved upon hearing "Roscoe" for the first or second time. Opening up with said track sets a really high bar, but the following songs happen to match it. The second half of the disc isn't as strong, but it's still better than most full albums released in 2006. Highly recommended! Expand
  15. MC
    Oct 4, 2006
    9
    So refreshing to hear music like this being made. wonderful harmonies with the vocals. I dare say this is timeless music. It's Fleetwood Mac for the new generation.
  16. clarisses
    Oct 3, 2006
    9
    certainly one of the albums of the year no contest... cs
  17. Slippy
    Oct 1, 2006
    9
    I knew I had a soft spot for soft rawk. There are meriad influences displayed on this album - from Thom Yorke's vocal inflections to the eclectic instrumentation of Sufjan Stevens. But to merely compare this album to those artists would be doing it injustice. The 70's soft rock genre is suprisingly fresh in this treatment, sharing some similarities to Ambulance LTD's I knew I had a soft spot for soft rawk. There are meriad influences displayed on this album - from Thom Yorke's vocal inflections to the eclectic instrumentation of Sufjan Stevens. But to merely compare this album to those artists would be doing it injustice. The 70's soft rock genre is suprisingly fresh in this treatment, sharing some similarities to Ambulance LTD's "Arbuckle's Swan Song" or "Country Gentleman" - only I guess a little less poppy or at least a bit more subdued. The most popular reference point in most reviews is that of Fleetwood Mac, which isn't a bad thing at all - but they're hardly Midlake's doppleganger. Great album, certainly not perfect - and perhaps what it does best is make you want more. Let's hope their next album is even more stunning. Expand
  18. Megakraak
    Oct 1, 2006
    10
    Midlake appears in 2006 with this album, surely one of the best albums of 2006, in my opinion. The tracks of this new album are so freshness and the continuous beauty starts from the beginning to the end. Music that enters in our ears of tempering form whose trend of listening increases of exponential form, but always with some smoothing. Songs as
  19. FrancisS
    Sep 30, 2006
    10
    Absolutely stunning album that is looking like being my album of the year unless something sneaks up on inside of the last few months of this year.
  20. scott
    Sep 29, 2006
    10
    Pretty much my favorite album of the year so far, but unlike other standouts--e.g. TV On Radio, Destroyer, Belle and Sebastian, Guillemots--it seems to have slipped off the radar a bit. It's too bad. Just great.
  21. Daniel,Esq.
    Sep 29, 2006
    10
    I love this album, and I'm so glad it's finally being rated on METACRITIC. Side A is fantastic: "Roscoe" and "Young Brides" are among the best songs you'll hear this year, especially if you remember Fleetwood Mac's 70s records fondly. I was a child then, and Midlake's album takes me right back. "Roscoe," especially, has amazing layered harmonies. The vocal turns I love this album, and I'm so glad it's finally being rated on METACRITIC. Side A is fantastic: "Roscoe" and "Young Brides" are among the best songs you'll hear this year, especially if you remember Fleetwood Mac's 70s records fondly. I was a child then, and Midlake's album takes me right back. "Roscoe," especially, has amazing layered harmonies. The vocal turns in the song are slippery and novel, and it has some of the most memorable phrasing I've heard this year ("Whenever I was I child I wondered what if my name had changed into something more productive like Roscoe, been born in 1891, waiting with my aunt Rosaline"). The only real criticism I can think of is that the album is a bit frontloaded, but only because Side A is so strong. But I the second half is very good indeed. The closing song, "Head Home," has a smooth, Fleetwood-Mac/Steely Dan-like vibe, with a bouncy piano line and the band's great harmonies. "We Gathered in Spring" has thick synth sounds that shimmy up through the acoustic guitars during the chorus. It's another homage to 70s soft rock, but I can't put my finger on the influences. "You Never Arrived" is a good song too, if a bit inconsequential at under 2:00. "Van Occupanther" is an outstanding album. Expand
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Midlake might be stuck in the '70s, but they make it sound like the best place on earth.
  2. Nostalgic, sure, but comforting, meticulous, and complex.
  3. So while the subdued vocal harmonies and acoustic folk influences of 70s pop bands Chicago and America can be heard, there is enough intricately layered dream-pop floating around the fleshed-out orchestrations to keep indie-rock fans contented.