Album of the Year 2013: ANTIPHON

Infographic: Antiphon the Thematic Journey

Infographic: Antiphon the Thematic Journey

[If you’re a Vinyl Vortex OK regular, you know that I am a huge fan of Midlake: see concert reviewmusic video, and wishful thinking. Read below to hear why Antiphon is my favorite album of the year.]

After three years of silence, fans wondered if Midlake had called it quits, but much to everyone’s surprise, the six-piece band from small-town Denton Texas exploded onto the music scene (accompanied by marketing blitz). Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Paul

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Courtesy ATO Records

Alexander, Eric Nichelson, Jesse Chandler and Joey McClellan triumphantly returned with Antiphon which did not disappoint.

The Release(s)

A limited edition hand numbered two-color vinyl version was announced (via Twitter with the hash tag #MidlakeAntiphon) and released to independent record stores around the country on October 29. The official LP dropped Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

I had the privilege of finding a copy limited edition version of Antiphon. Thankfully Guestroom had a copy, which I promptly purchased! It is a simple white heavy card stock sleeve with hand-stamped, hand-numbered artwork (I got number 474/500). The record is half red and half orange transparent vinyl. The official release on vinyl is a gatefold album with fold-out poster/booklet with lyrics as you unfold the poster.

The Music

Antiphon is one of those rare gems that you can listen to over and over without tiring of the songs. With psychedelic jam-session interludes (“Vale”) and soaring melodies (“Antiphon,” “This Weight”, “Ages”), Antiphon proves fitting for background music and focused listening alike.

Although focused listening will help you enjoy the dynamic musical journey (the so-thought “low-points” serve as structure that make the high-points that much more triumphant). No matter the song, the momentum never wanes as one song transitions into the next. In hindsight, the relentless momentum is reminiscent of the perseverance of the band members after the exit of their main songwriter. Momentum is the theme of the album.

The momentum never wanes as one song transitions into the next… That momentum reminiscent of the momentum of the band members becomes the theme of the album.

Despite the trying times of longing for more, Midlake declare independence from the “Provider” (i.e. former frontman Tim Smith), both sonically and literally. Throughout the track listing, the struggle for independence is apparent on Side One, which serves as preparation before the climatic events of Side Two. The defiance of the leader is not without humble self-evaluation and reflection in “This Weight” and “Corruption.”

Source: Sacks & Co.

Source: Sacks & Co.

The Best
After countless rotations, I still come back to these songs (see info graphic above for my ranking of each song off the album):

  • Old & Young
  • Ages
  • Antiphon
  • Provider
  • This Weight

Check out the Antiphon Experience (video/lyrics ) and decide for yourself. Tell us what you think!

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