The trials of Van Occupanther

These past weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions influenced by my working life, which I’m not proud to admit, has been very hard to cope with, affecting my personal life.

All the euphoria and excitement caused by Clutch’s new album release were soon forgotten as I was having a real bad time. Unconsciously I chose Midlake’s second album, The Trials Of Van Occupanther, to match my low spirits, perhaps in an attempt to recall a hard past time.

I got acquainted with Midlake right before my separation from #hewhocannotbenamed, but it was during all this mourning stage I started listening to this album repeatedly. The Trials of Van Occupanther definitely suggests winter and sadness, abandon and escape from reality. Somehow I think it really helped be to go through awful episodes. It gave me some sort of tranquility, and was perfect for relaxing up to the point of getting fully concentrated in the music. It’s the perfect choice for chilling out on the sofa, getting your mind a break.

Beautiful pianos, violins, flutes and the increasing presence of acoustic guitars more remarkable than electric ones get the sound of the band closer to vintage folk, however the use of synths, the compositions and the amazing production work on vocals resemble more to indie style. It’s difficult to define them and honestly, probably because I haven’t listened to the bands many critics relate them to (Radiohead and Fletwood Mac), I’d point them in the direction towards modern folk, or something similar.

Not that I play this album very often, but I’m not just listening to it in bad times either. I’m not exaggerating admitting it’s one of the most intense and intimate works I’ve listened to in the last years.

There are songs which drive me crazy. We Gathered in Spring with all that synth part combined with the acoustic guitars is simply splendid. Flutes in Van Occupanther and In This Camp evoke natural landscapes. To be honest every song has something special, creating their unique atmosphere, with a dreamy component shared.

The project developed by this band from Texas and the brilliant John Grant makes me think of an extension of Trials, adding the talent of the former leader of The Czars. Queen of Denmark, as I already commented here long time ago, is a treasure and pure pleasure for your ears too.

I was so overwhelmed by Queen of Denmark, and so in love with Trials, I still keep their last album, The Courage of Others, sealed in the shelf, and I’d bet I’ve never listened to it yet (can’t even remember when I bought it). The only reason for such nonsense would be fear of getting disappointed. Perhaps it’s time to give it a try once and for all, don’t you think?


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