With a band boasting seven live members you by rights expect to experience something above the norm. Sadly, tonight Midlake offers nothing but the norm. While it’s arguable their whimsical, nostalgic sound is only for a certain few, they have successfully transcended niches and genres and created some floating yet concise folk/pop songs in their time. Four guitar players grace the stage. Now, when you see a band with three guitarists you usually expect one of them is the filler for the other two who take on lead and rhythm. Well, Midlake manage to succeed in making all four guitars sound like the filler, creating a subsequent mass of mediocre wobbling. They simply plod through what feels like an endless barrage of tinkering and incoherent meanderings. The theoretical journey stays so firmly in the middle of the road that you wouldn’t even get hit by a car coming from either side, as much as you may want to. There are brief moments when it works, but you can’t help but feel bitterly short changed. What exactly are all seven people doing up there? Sometimes less is more.
By Daniel Dylan Wray
Originally published in issue 19 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2010