In competition with Oprah, Brent's "Book Club" has some rules, one of which is "Always judge a book by its cover." Applied to albus as well that is how he found Hem's Rabbit Songs which turned out to be a gem. The band has sense become one of my favorite contemporary music making ensembles. Arrangements from sparse to full orchestral sweeps, instruments from the guitar and piano to the glockenspiel and french horn. Anyway...I love Hem and have always wanted to have my own album cover based discovery.
In todays day of digitlized music sometimes we don't even see the album cover but on emusic I saw the cover for Midlake's The Trials of Van Occupanther and was super intrigued.
Who the heck is Van Occupanther?
So I listened to a 10 second snipit and was hooked.
Upon getting the album I can hardly stop listening to it. I keep coming back to it.
Midlake has an ability to have lush arrangements without over doing it and also preserving the melody, which is often quite strong and often haunting.
The dynamic nature of the music makes it interesting. They can rock but also bring it down. The lyrics are cryptic and interesting like bits of stories parachuted in from Colin Meloy's Moleskine and storytelling harkening back to the Band's Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. You get some evocative details without the entire narrative. But it makes for enjoyable repeated listening.
Another interesting element to the music is the prog-rock-esque electronic sounds. You find yourself wondering whether that's a flute or a synth; that is when you're wondering about Roscoe born in 1891 or who the heck is Van Occupanther?
I take special enjoyment in the fact that I "found" them serendipitiously on emusic by the cover of their album and they turned out to be good; in the same way Brent "found" the gem Hem. Scotty hadn't even heard of them. By the way Scott, I expect your two cents on the album. Andy by the way...you ought to throw down some short stories and record reviews on the blog here. I'm just saying...
Anyway...if you have a face and any portion of a brain that enjoys music...buy this album.