Midlake has announced their fifth studio album, For The Sake of Bethel Woods, and shared the first single, titled “Meanwhile…” The Texas-based band has not released new music since 2013’s Antiphon.
Midlake’s brand of folk-rock evokes the brooding, funk-influenced sound of groups like TV on The Radio. After the departure of original frontman Tim Smith, they threw out their past recordings and restarted as a new quintet, hurriedly releasing a new album. On Antiphon, Midlake leaned into their rock side with distorted electric guitar riffs and newly-minted frontman Eric Pulido’s Bowie-protege vocals.
Almost a decade later, on “Meanwhile…” the band finds a lighter touch. A swoon-worthy 60’s rhythm carved out by drummer McKenzie Smith allows the steady acoustic guitar and wavering metronome to absolutely float. Pulido’s vocals, though mournful, are softer and more whimsical than ever.
Pulido said the track speaks to two key points in Midlake’s history: when the band decided to go on hiatus in 2014, and when they were inspired to reconvene in 2020.
“Everyone had their respective experience during the uncertain time apart,” he said, “culminating in a confident and celebratory return to form.”
Available for preorder now, For The Sake of Bethel Woods will be released on March 18th of next year. For their first time working with an outside producer, Midlake brought in the big guns, recruiting Grammy-award-winning producer John Congleton. Congleton, whose previous credits include St. Vincent and Sharon Van Etten, produced, engineered, and mixed the album at Elmwood Recording Studio in Midlake’s native Texas.
Though the project marks a homecoming of sorts for Midlake, the reunion is bittersweet. For The Sake of Bethel Woods’ cover art pays homage to keyboardists Jesse Chandler’s father, who passed away in 2018.
“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,” Chandler said, “and all that the magic of music, peace, love, and communion bring to it, whether one knows it at the time or not.
Promoting For The Sake Of Bethel Woods, Midlake has also announced a series of North American Tour Dates, including a 2-night special performance with the Flaming Lips. See full the dates below, with more to be announced soon:
11/26– Fort Worth, TX – Tulips
11/27 – Austin, TX – 3TEN
12/30-12/31 – Pelham, TX – The Caverns *
*2-night special show with The Flaming Lips