With "The Courage of Others" (Bella Union), Midlake singer Tim Smith sounds like a refugee from the late ‘60s English-folk scene, with songs delivered in an unaffected, understated voice that could’ve easily complemented Sandy Denny or Anne Briggs, or fit in with Pentangle or Fairport Convention.
Yet despite its cryptic, apocalyptic themes, it’s more appropriate to say that Courage Of Others is a more formal, deliberate album than its predecessor, owing less to “take it easy” leanings and more to the prodigious prog-folk of E.L.P., Giles & McDonald, or the most minor-key offerings of Pentangle.
"The Courage of Others" doesn't offer anything as immediately captivating as "Van Occupanther" gems like "Roscoe" and "Young Bride," but the new songs slowly take shape and are unafraid to choose interesting detours.
Furthermore, the way that 'Rulers Of Ruling Things', 'The Horn' and 'The Courage Of Others' arch effortlessly into trippier psych-rock inflected territory suggest a more expansive, weirder Midlake to come.
Yet they never come, and without the vivid talents of their heroes — Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, John Renbourn — Midlake's abstracted invocations of maidens, merchant ships and "ancient light" feel a bit bookish and distant.
This is one of the most achingly brilliant records I have ever heard. The entire record evokes a peace, love and wisdom that enthralls myThis is one of the most achingly brilliant records I have ever heard. The entire record evokes a peace, love and wisdom that enthralls my mind, touches my heart, and quiets my soul. I'm desperate to hear Harp. Thanks for your courage and patience, Tim.…Expand
I have been awestruck by this album. Multiple plays later it still enchants my ears with its total difference to just about everything else.I have been awestruck by this album. Multiple plays later it still enchants my ears with its total difference to just about everything else.
No, it's not The Trials of Van Occupanther. But is that what you'd really want? Go straight to the iTunes chart if the answer is 'yes', please. No, this is a thought-out, restrained gem made with a clear vision. Its quiet restraint pulls me in to soak up every subtle lick and lyric. Its odd, elsewhere world is fascinating. What happened? Is it the past or the future? Why is its condition both attractive and daunting?
strong 3rd album from the lo-fi folk-rockers. Midlake have a real unique sound that stands out amongst other releases over the last decade.strong 3rd album from the lo-fi folk-rockers. Midlake have a real unique sound that stands out amongst other releases over the last decade. It's hard to say what their influences are. This album is a mix of acoustic and electric guitars blend in with a host of other instruments, topped off with dark and dreary vocals which really suits the style of the music. At times I'm reminded of Led Zep's quieter tracks, but in general they just sound from a completely different era. Some of it has a medieval feel to it. It's take a lot of listens to really hear what's going on here but it's worth sticking with it. The opener "Acts of Man", "Children of the Grounds" and the title track "The Courage of Others" are the highlights for me.…Expand