Always partial to music which is as cinematic as it is sonically expressive, and especially keen on dark and sultry aural adventures which embrace emotive shadows as eagerly as they do melodic intrigue, the debut single from Scottish band Milton Star has come as a bit of a treat. Consisting of the songs Salvation and Storyville, the double A-sided encounter is a gothic romance for the ears and imagination. The two tracks cast evocative landscapes of smouldering emotion and heavy atmospheric colour uniting indie and dark country in one enjoyable and darkly feverish encounter.
Milton Star is the duo of Alan Wyllie and Graeme Currie, two songwriters/musicians whose history together goes back to the early days of post punk and across numerous projects, most notably the Thursdays who were signed to Fast Records. Getting back together in 2010 after both had been absent from the music scene for a few years, Wyllie and Currie now in a converted church in Fife, create and record their songs with a sound which have drawn the description, “think Velvet Underground meets vintage Glen Campbell via Rick Rubin collaborating on the next David Lynch movie or sound-tracking the latest HBO crime drama…” It is a hint in the right direction but as Salvation alone shows, there is plenty more within the band’s broad soundscapes and intimate canvases.
The track is a dark croon seemingly bred on a dark folk mix of Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan aligned to the visual drama of Helldorado and a whisper of the raw danger in a Tombstone Three. It opens on an instantly gripping stroll of heavy beats which is swiftly joined by the sultry flames of guitar and great dark throated yet melancholically elegant vocals. There is an immediate theatre to the song, especially when voice and guitar add their provocative textures to the portentous heavy bassline and the crisp swings of the drums. The track is glorious and increasingly spicy as the two musicians weave in tangy grooves and emotive melodies which often come in a great ‘yawn’ of sound. With additional fifties rock ‘n’ roll stroking its gothic poetry, the song leaves thoughts lost in a soulful landscape of adventure and ears basking in syrupy sonic goodness.
Its companion Storyville similarly offers an intensive climate of shadows, this time the first breath coming around a grizzled bassline which instantly enslaves attention as the atmospheric lure of the track expands its coaxing. Slightly lighter than its predecessor but no less imposing with its bordering on caliginous emotions and aural colour, the song shimmers and smoulders with raw radiance and evocative expression, it all across that unrelenting bass spine. Not quite matching Salvation but certainly as enthralling and exciting, the song completes an impressive first excursion into the dark climactic majesty of Milton Star’s sound.
The single is sure to spark strong anticipation in a great many for more; future Milton Star adventures which if they are as dramatic and thrilling as this will be devoured greedily and noisily.
Salvation/Storyville is available from 12th January via Stereogram Recordings @ https://stereogramrecordings.bandcamp.com
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