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Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
Posted by Tim Karan on 04-Oct-06 @ 07:05 PM

[5/5] As My Morning Jacket proved on a grand scale, indie rockers no longer need to be ashamed about claiming '70s rock dinosaurs as influences. Denton, Texas, quintet Midlake go one step further, practically replicating the warm glow of that era's FM radio on their bewitching sophomore effort. Pastoral flutes and acoustic guitars (as well as the occasional Frampton-esque keyboard flourish) coexist peacefully with jagged electric riffs, creating rustic tunes that somehow avoid feeling like empty exercises in nostalgia. Some might find Midlake's granola-munching lyricism hard to take, although the stark simplicity on the breakup tune "Branches" ("There's no one else so kind /There's no one else to find") hits the spot. And when falsetto harmonies loop around that song's stark piano, it sounds eerily like Radiohead's OK Computer-a reminder that Midlake are very much forward-thinking, even if their hearts would rather be wearing polyester. (BELLA UNION) Annie Zaleski

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