It is interesting to see how the Late Night Tales compilation strand has developed over the past decade – and Midlake are a perfect fit for the series.
This is a collection of the influences that contribute to their mellow, crepuscular sound. After their last album, The Courage Of Others, it’s with little surprise that this collection is rooted in English folk. Sandy Denny emerges as clear as a bell, on both Fairport Convention’s Genesis Hall and her own Carnival. It also throws a light on Maddy Prior, forever cast in Denny’s shadow, on Steeleye Span’s The Blacksmith. It’s not all folk, though: Scott Walker pops up for Copenhagen, and Björk adds strangeness to the sweetness with Unravel.
In keeping with the Late Night Tales tradition, Midlake provide a cover themselves. Black Sabbath’s Am I Going Insane isn’t the first song you’d expect them to sing, but it’s quite wonderful, slow-building, respectful hard rock. Meanwhile, dream-pop specialists and Bella Union labelmates Beach House contribute the divine Silver Soul. One of the best collections of the series, this isn’t only a superbly mellow listen, but also a vital companion to Midlake’s own work.