Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Midlake

  • The Trials of Van Occupanther [Bella Union, 2007] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Trials of Van Occupanther [Bella Union, 2007]
The prestige of this conjunction of pomo prog, alt-country, fantasy fiction and video-game narrativity is the silliest proof yet of how jaded indie's tastebuds have become, with candied cannabis and lark's wings in aspic impending. Because Tim Smith has a sweet voice and a decent heart and his formerly psychedelic bandmates can negotiate moderately complex arrangements without twisting their ankles, this unfathomable concept album about loneliness on some olde frontier is compared to "classic rock"--Fleetwood Mac especially. Putting that band's eponymous rhythm section aside, one wonders just which of these songs might entrance the common folk like, for instance, "Go Your Own Way." Perhaps the first and catchiest, in which Smith as Occupanther laments that he isn't named Roscoe. There's a sentiment all can share. Roscoe Smith. We'll have this fellow playing da blooze yet. C