Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Jeff Loves Midlake
It's been a while since I listened to a new band and loved them instantly. I've been into a lot of growers lately, like TV On The Radio and Tapes 'n Tapes. So I am pleased to report that Midlake had me at hello. I heard lead track "Roscoe" on Gorilla vs. Bear. Loved it. I immediately went and grabbed The Trials of Van Occupanther. Loved it.
Van Occupanther is a throwback record, filled with mellow 70's-style AM pop. Soft piano, calmly pulsing bass lines, flute lines, and plenty of high hats. Nothing controversial, just a time-worn style. You can imagine pretty much any of these songs as the theme to some old sitcom about a wacky office. It's pure soft rock, in the spirit of Christine McVie's work in Fleetwood Mac, or the softer work of Elton John and Billy Joel.
(Hilariously, Van Occupanther is precisely the kind of music about which Joel famously said, "pardon my French, but lite rock sounds like soft cock." Yes, that's Billy "The Longest Time" Joel said that. Really. That's one of my favorite quotes ever. I'm thrilled that I found it online, and that my grandchildren will someday read it. Seriously. Try to imagine a recording of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Idi Amin performing "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" in three-part harmony... with that, you're starting to approach the level of irony inflicted upon you by Billy Joel and his soft-cock quote. Almost.)
Aaaaaanyway, Midlake is pretty sweet. Is the album revolutionary? No. Is it cool? Decidedly not. But I'm a sucker for great piano pop, and that's what it is.