BY MICHAEL TOLAND
With the surprise announcement that singer and songwriter Tim Smith had left Midlake, a lot of fans wondered what would become of the acclaimed Denton combo. When guitarist Eric Pulido stepped up to the mic, those same fans pondered what the band would sound like without Smith in charge.
With Antiphon in hand, the answer is apparent: not much different. The same lush blend of psychedelia, progressive rock and folk holds sway here, perhaps a bit slicker than before, but very familiar to fans of the first three records. The widescreen, romantic acid folk of “Aurora Gone” and “Provider Reprise,” the atmospheric hooky pop of “This Weight” and “The Old and the Young” and the widescreen psych/prog of “Vale” fit comfortably in with the best of Midlake’s previous work.
Indeed, the strong creative flow guiding this record indicates that the band’s artistic direction wasn’t solely the vision of Smith. Pulido’s voice isn’t as distinctive as Smith’s, nor do the lyrics carry the same enigmatic mysticism. But Antiphon’s general excellence indicates the split will result in two entities of quality, instead of just one.
DOWNLOAD: “The Old and the Young,” “Vale,” “Aurora Gone”