Antiphon is the first release from Texas-based band, Midlake, since the departure of their lead singer and songwriter, Tim Smith, last year. Since the vision of Midlake up to this point had mostly been that of Smith’s, the fate of the band without their frontman was in question. Remarkably, the band has really made the best of the situation, writing all new material from scratch and promoting guitarist Eric Pulido to take on the role of lead vocalist. The result is an album that they say is “the most honest representation of the band as a whole.”
The folk-influenced, woodsy sound of their previous albums is still present throughout Antiphon, on songs like Provider (Reprise) and Aurora Gone. However, it is clear that the band wanted to take a heavier, more progressive approach to the album, as heard on the title track, Vale and Ages.
If there’s one thing to say about Antiphon, it’s that it is a very consistent album, almost to the point where the songs begin to blend together. At times, I forgot which song I was listening to. But this consistency isn’t a bad thing. It allows you to listen to the album in order, or on shuffle, while still maintaining a nice flow.
Midlake’s new direction with Antiphon is a very pleasant surprise. It’s a great album with lush instrumentation and beautiful, “antiphonal” harmonies.