Midlake have just released their third album The Courage of Others which has already been primed by Mojo as possibly the album of the year. They have spent the last three years making this album which has led them on a musical journey they have never been on before. They have discovered Fairport, Steeleye Span and ’70s British Folk, all of which has been an influence on this album.
This new album is certainly a move away from the 70’s Californian soft rock of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Fleetwood Mac and America that so influenced their last album. But who would have suspected a move over to our fair Isles not so late musical history. The influence of British Folk rock is all in there, right down to an underlying folky darkness as evidenced in their music video for Acts of Men (see below). Anyone who listens to traditional British Folk will be aware of the grime, murder, love and betrayal that so often crops up in British folk songs. Not exactly skipping along holding hands picking daisies is it? Needless to say, they make good use of minor keys.
The album follows a more sedate and gentle approach than their last. Despite this, there is intricacy in the the instrumental play which kept me captivated with the inclusion of harpsichord, fiddle and flute. The guitar, however, takes the front line on this album, unlike the last keyboard led album. This new musical approach meant a lengthy re-learning and re-takes to perfect this new sound. Not to mention buying a heap of 70’s British Folk albums to be inspired by. You have to give them credit for the ambition behind this album. Their hard work has certainly paid off.
The album holds together well and the songmanship is second to none. I would expect nothing less from Midlake. I have a few favourites:
Fortune (certainly one of most folky tracks on the album), Small Mountain and Acts of Man.
An album that will certainly be a classic of the future and a highly ranked one for 2010. You can hear tracks on our Frukie stream.
Video: Acts of Man
UK Tour Dates:
Fri 12 Feb: Anson Rooms & Ar2 (Bristol University),Bristol
Mon 15 Feb: O2 ABC Glasgow (ABC1 & ABC2), Glasgow
Tue 16 Feb: Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham
Wed 17 Feb: Manchester University (Manchester Academy 1,2,3,4 & Club), Manchester
Thu 18 Feb: Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Tue 02 Nov: Roundhouse, London