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Midlake

Antiphon (ATO)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Jan. 31, 2014

Texas Platters

Following the departure of lead singer-songwriter Tim Smith, Midlake could've packed in its legacy of three acclaimed LPs and faded into the hinterland of influences spurring the new millennial resurgence of Seventies folk-rock. Instead, the Denton sextet scrapped its fourth LP and started fresh with guitarist Eric Pulido helming a more democratic process. Antiphon therefore sounds like a band album, solidly Midlake-ian, yet lacks the unexpected turns and adventurousness of a strong vision. Prog-lined rather than folky, its harmonies cede to psych-guitar and powerful percussion on the title track, standout "Provider," and slow lift of "It's Going Down," but what Midlake gains in cohesion it loses in uniqueness. Guitar broil "Vale" serves as instrumental centerpiece, but deflates in the backside's lull. Antiphon offers a band regrouping but still searching for distinct direction.

**.5

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