IT WAS a real boon for lovers of expansive, harmonic, suede-jacketed Americana back in October when Denton, Texas’s Midlake announced they were reconvening for their first album in jeez, nine years, For the Sake of Bethel Woods. Too long, guys, too long. And it seems like the coming back together stems at least partly from a message imparted in a dream.
That day they shared a studio recording of a first taster, “Meanwhile…” – and now to show how good they are outside the climes of the overdub and the 48-track, they’ve revisited it in a live in the studio take, filmed at Modern Electric Sound Recorders in Dallas.
It’s just the first in a series of live takes on new album tracks they’ll be dropping before March, when that album hits the racks; and we’ve got it right here for you.
Everything, everything, you want from Midlake is present and correct herein – they’e so not lost their touch, The tunesmithery is minor chord-melodic and complex without ever losing sight of hooks; the guitars sing with the high dusty plains of border country; the synths bring a gently cosmic edge; and the harmonies: warm, weaving, captivating.
For the Sake of Bethel Woods is predicated on the concept of longing to reconnect with things which are or seem lost. The cover art depicts keyboard player and flautist Jesse Chandler’s father, who died in 2018.
Singer Eric Pulido explains: “He was a lovely human, and it was really heavy and sad, and he came to Jesse in a dream. I reference it in a song.
“He said, ‘Hey, Jesse, you need to get the band back together.’ I didn’t take that lightly. We had already had these feelings with everyone in the band of, oh, this could be a cool thing to do. But the dream was a kind of beautiful depiction of a purpose to reconvene and make music together as friends.”
The photo was actually taken at Woodstock; Jesse’s then-16-year-old dad had hitchhiked up from New Jersey. “So for me, the picture of that kid, my dad, forever frozen in time,” Jesse says, “encapsulates what it means to be in the throes of impressionable and fleeting youth, and all that the magic of music, peace, love and communion bring to it, whether one knows it at the time or not.”
Midlake will also be on tour in the UK in the spring, those dates being as follows; you can get your tickets at the band’s website.
Tuesday, April 5th, Brighton, Chalk;
Wednesday, April 6th, London, Camden, Roundhouse;
Friday, April 8th, Newcastle, University Student’s Union;
Saturday, April 9th, Edinburgh, Assembly Rooms, and
Sunday, April 10th, Manchester, Albert Hall.
Midlake’s new album, For The Sake Of Bethel Woods, will be released by Bella Union on March 18th digitally, on CD, and on trad black and limited edition white vinyl with print; pre-order yours over at the Bella Union store.