MIDLAKE – ” For the Sake of Bethel Woods “

Posted: October 26, 2021 in MUSIC
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Midlake will be back with “For The Sake of Bethel Woods”, their first new album in nearly a decade, on March 22nd via ATO/Bella Union. Their fifth album, it marks the first time the band have worked with an outside producer, John Congleton, who also engineered and mixed the album.

The album is named for the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival and the town is where flautist/keyboard player Jesse Chandler grew up. The album cover is an illustration based on his father at the original Woodstock. “At age 16 my father and his friend hitchhiked from Ridgewood, NJ to the Woodstock festival in 1969,” says Chandler. “This image of him with his hand to his face appears in the 1970 Woodstock documentary, as the camera pans across the crowd during John Sebastian’s set. My father actually ended up moving to Woodstock, NY – where I grew up – in 1981. For me, the picture of that kid, my dad, forever frozen in time, encapsulates what it means to be in the throes of impressionable and fleeting youth, and all that the magic of music, peace, love, and communion bring to it, whether one knows it at the time or not. (I think he knew it).”

The first single from the album is “Meanwhile…,” which is a typically lush Midlake creation and a wink towards the band’s absence. “’Meanwhile…’ is a song referencing the time in between what transpired leading up to our hiatus in ‘14, and what inspired us to reconvene in ’20,” says singer/guitarist Eric Pulido. “The former being an unhealthy and unsustainable place that called for pause and the latter a serendipitous visit from Jesse’s late father (Dave Chandler, depicted on the album cover) in a dream encouraging him to reunite with the band. Everyone had their respective experience during the uncertain time apart culminating in a confident and celebratory return to form.”

It’s been almost a decade since we’ve heard from them, but now Midlake are set to return with their unique take on folk rock. ‘For the Sake of Bethel Woods’ is their first since 2013’s ‘Antiphon’, and drops next year on Bella Union. The Texan outfit are known for mid-2000s classics including ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ and their sound which mixes Laurel Canyon folk with indie rock, psychedelia, and chamber pop.

Loss and hope, isolation and communion, the cessation and renewal of purpose. Timeless and salient, these themes echo throughout the fifth album from Midlake, their first since “Antiphon” in 2013. Produced to layered, loving perfection by John Congleton, “For the Sake of Bethel Woods” is an album of immersive warmth and mystery from a band of ardent seekers, one of our generation’s finest: a band once feared lost themselves by fans, perhaps, but here revivified with freshness and constancy of intent.

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