Austin Music Minute

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November 26, 2021


By: Laurie Gallardo

Photography by Barbara FG.

The entirety of Midlake‘s forthcoming release, For the Sake of Bethel Woods – its intimacy, fragility, and ultimately determined resolve – has the feel of a poignant scrapbook put together with tremendous care. The band chose to work with producer John Congleton as they gathered material for their fifth release, their first since Antiphon (2013), and it’s been their most meaningful undertaking in every layer of its fabric, right down to the album’s cover art.

The cover bears a still from the documentary Woodstock, a youthful image of keyboardist/flautist Jesse Chandler’s father, who passed away in 2018. His late father’s presence played a significant role in the LP’s formation. “He came to Jesse in a dream,” explains vocalist Eric Pulido. “I reference it in a song. He said, ‘Hey, Jesse, you need to get the band back together.’ I didn’t take that lightly. We had already had these feelings with everyone in the band of, oh, this could be a cool thing to do. But the dream was a kind of beautiful depiction of a purpose to reconvene and make music together as friends.”

At the core of For the Sake of Bethel Woods is a tribute to the magic of past adventures, with a reconnection to love and hope in the present, powering through even the darkest moments of recent years. “So for me, the picture of that kid, my dad, forever frozen in time,” says Chandler, “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.”

Midlake wraps up their monthly musical residency at 3Ten at ACL Live this week with a performance tomorrow night, Saturday Nov. 27, featuring special guest James Petralli (White Denim) starting the show. Doors open at 8 p.m.