Permit me a quick moment to digress
When I opened an envelope
that had the new release Bamnan and Slivercork from Denton,
TX's Midlake, it made my day. I rushed to the stereo and
popped in the cd, and fell back onto the couch awash in the sounds
of one of my favorite young bands. It was a magical moment, one
which I will not soon forget. I waited eagerly for "Kingfish
Pies" to play, and I was well rewarded with a remarkable
version. This song has most certainly become one of my favorite
songs of all time; it sticks in the mind, running joyous circles
around the maypole of one's cerebral playground.
I first heard Midlake at South By Southwest two years ago, and
have been a big fan since; even going so far as to steal some
demos on a disc that my younger brother had received from the
band. It was just two songs, "Kingfish Pies" and "Balloon
Maker" in a raw and fresh form. I am more than happy to report
that the versions of these amazing songs that appear on the final
record are far superior to the demos, not only in sound, but in
overall vibe and aural bliss.
For the uninitiated, Midlake are a little rock group from Denton,
TX. They create songs that are all at once highly reminiscent
of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Simon Raymonde's
various work, the Beatles, and Roky Erickson's 13th
Floor Elevators. The songs reflect psychedelia in a childlike
pure form, there is very little to distract from the joy of the
music. The lyrics are equally amazing - both literate and engaging,
while maintaining a purity and delight seldom found in popular
The album opens with "They Cannot Let It Expand",
which would seem to be a physics experiment gone awry. The brilliant
melodies cascade dreamily over the wash of synthesizers and
the repetitive lyrics, driving home their very own distinct
beauty. "Balloon Maker" is full of Beatles-esque tones
and rhythms. But few things compare to the magical camel-back
ride of "Kingfish Pies", with its madly stuttering
drumbeat, lilting flutes, and absurd story of the kingfish pie
factory. True story, I assure you. The tears of breaking up
find a place in "I Guess I'll Take Care", although
it is handled in a rather fresh and hazy-speculative fashion.
"I guess I'll take care/ of my heart and brain and hair/
with a soda for the ride/seems to help me all the time/leaving
there from you/ I want you all the time, you want me too."
I could lovingly give you a play by play of each of these songs,
but I'll reserve that for another time.
I cannot possibly say enough about the beauty and originality
of the music that Midlake has delivered on its debut full length.
I can only gently remind you to go find the record, and assure
you it will become one of your favorite daily listens. It's
just that good.
1. They Cannot Let It Expand
2. Balloon Maker
3. Kingfish Pies
4. I Guess I'll Take Care
5. Some Of Them Were Superstitious
6. The Reprimand
7. The Jungler
8. He Tried To Escape
9. Mopper's Medley
10. No One Knew Where We Were
12. Mr. Amateur
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