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Album Review: Midlake - 'For The Sake of Bethel Woods'

Updated: May 4, 2023

Denton, TX's Midlake are back with their first record since 2013. The five-piece folk rock group are really turning in something dynamic with For The Sake of Bethel Woods. There's moments where Midlake live up to their billing as a folk rock group rooted in traditional instrumentation. However, at one point ("Bethel Woods") the band gives us something that sounds like it could fit on Radiohead's In Rainbows. Vocalist Eric Pulido sings gently above the frantic beats on this one and it grips you hard.

The group takes the record to another place entirely with the heady tune "Exile". Where effects driven guitars and vocals evoke a sense of psychedelia that ties into the album's cover image. The image is of keyboardist/flautist Jesse Chandler's father who passed away in 2018 at Woodstock. The image was taken from the documentary Woodstock from 1970. The band is able to cleverly tie feelings and moments of the present into those of the past in this way. That's really what For The Sake of Bethel Woods is all about.

The band toys with genre on other tracks such as "Gone" where they intertwine funk and rock. The band lays plenty of groundwork here for listeners to pick up on. It's a joyful listen if you don't get too hung up on putting your music into finite boxes. I for one an not, and enjoy the return of the North Texas five-piece.

Rating - 4/5

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