I deliberately delayed putting some words together on this release, not because the music never tickled my fancy or that I was apathetic to what was going on.
Far from it, see, the first time I listened to this record I felt a narcissistic nudge to put the pen down and simply enjoy it – Milwalkie have created something absolutely smashing with No Routes.
It is a record that is intriguing, interesting and one that bristles with intensity and carefully fibred vibrancy; every track bends and breaks differently diligently creating a different pallet of atmospheric fuzz.
On ‘Frozen Lake’ for instance there is a meddling forensic backbone of intrinsic guitars that interlope into a repetitive vocal pattern; the effect is a forestry of deeply affecting melodies that simmer in and out of each other beautifully.
‘Surf, Surf, Surf’ takes a bunch of summer pop sensibilities and entrenches them into a Jeff Magnum landscape of lo-fi harmonic wizardry.
‘You’re Late’ similarly takes the airy hazy buzz familiar with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and drips it meticulously in a coating of cathartically blissful white emulsion.
No Routes blends a potion effectively constructed by mixing a plethora of sounds and atmospheres into a well-woven web of homely warmth.
Perhaps it is the cosmopolitan affluence of having backgrounds stretched from Scotland to Germany, but there is a stench of holistic styling which cascades itself over the record.
For example when you listen to tracks such as ‘Wash Yourself’ and ‘Milan’; glockenspiels lead you slowly into an ethereal world of entrancingly cultured choppy guitars, there is even a nod to 80s psychedelic pop spots on the former, saturating itself in dissolving delicious vocal harmonies.
So far I have mentioned an awful lot about the angelic vocals and forensically driven guitars, but that would be sinfully berthing and understating as to just how vital the drums are to the overall presentation of No Routes.
‘Back to the Snow’ for example features a drifting dissemblance of brushing tiki-like drums that waver and diversify around the rest of the composition, while ‘Astraphobia’ is a more basic and fluent stamp of time kept beats – no rhythm less or more important than the last.
Milwalkie have pushed themselves hard with No Routes and it really shows in the delivery and elegance of the final product.
With this record there is something for everybody and every occasion, whether it be gutting the house out on a sultry Sunday afternoon or sinking a couple of drinks with friends down the pub on a Saturday night, the balanced components on display in No Routes ensures a distinct measurement of both originality and validity that will surely stand the band in good stead for future endeavours.
Words: Chris Kelman