Midlake are greedy bastards. Not satisfied with making perhaps the album of the year (The Comfort of others) they have colluded with bandless stablemate John Grant to make eh, perhaps, the album of the year. So expect to see Midlake feature heavily in the year end lists.
This is a very Midlake album. It has their arrangements, touches and noodles for a start. It strays back into Van Occupanther territory in that it explores 70’s soft rock influence (Barry Manilow, Elton John) as opposed to 70’s folk which caught their ear in The Comfort of Others.
But this is not a Midlake album. It is most assuredly John Grant’s. Stridently gay in its copy and occasionally whimsical, it packs a meaty punch.
I was blown away on first listening and then it got better. The gayness of it is very evident. But it’s what makes the album, because it gives him lyrical richness. He combines a mix of ‘fuck you’ attitude and humour. I have to say the only downsides of the album is when he overindulges in the humour and when Midlake over-noodle on the keyboards.
It’s a thing of very great beauty. If you like Anthony and the Johnsons but hated his voice this might be more to your liking, Because it’s outrageously mellow.
For fans of Midlake this is required listening. (In fact I will hazard a guess that some of you who saw Comfort of Others as a retrograde step will find this re-engaging you.)
This is a great record in anyone’s language. If it sells 5,000 copies in the UK I’ll be amazed. Please be one of them?