ALBUM REVIEWS


Milburn
THESE ARE THE FACTS
MERCURY RECORDS 24.9.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk


I must admit I was one of the crowd who had labelled Milburn as Arctic Monkeys-wannabes before I had even heard the first chord played. So it was with the expectation of familiar stories and borrowed riffs that I first put the album on to play…

And what I found immediately surprised me. The opening track “Lo + Behold” sounds much more like The Coral than anything even vaguely Arctics. With the ska beat ringing in my ears, I opened my mind to the possibility that all the two Sheffield-based bands would have in common is their hometown.

Second track (and new single) “What Will You Do (When The Money Goes)” does lean more on the Arctics side of Indie, but the chorus makes it stand out as something unique, with bouncing, feel-good guitar pop at its core. “Wolves At Bay” has a more stripped-down, edgy sound, while “Summertime” sounds like it could be a cover of a long-forgotten song by The Mamas And The Papas.

By far the standout track is “Cowboys And Indians”, which is spikey, skank-laden ska and so unique I can’t stop listening to it. The riff sounds like it was stumbled-upon by an Irishman playing in a provincial pub after a few too many pints of the Black Stuff, but it works. It may not make it as a single, but should be listened to ad infinitum to find a full appreciation of it.

Of the other tracks, “Lucy Lovemenot” is the best of the other songs that stray into the territory of The Coral. While its opening riff is a little too close to “Don’t Think You’re The First”, the rest of the track recovers to make it once again the band’s own. “Being A Rogue” feels a bit country and has a Johnny Cash moment with the line “Walking the line / is wearing away my shoes”. Penultimate track “Rubicon” is an acoustic offering that adds another dimension to the album, and is followed by “Genius And The Tramp”, which could easily have been borrowed from The Libertines (or one of their derivatives).

This mixture of influences really helps Milburn to create a sound of their own. You’ll have noticed that every band I’ve drawn comparisons to have very different characters, and this comes through on the album as the tracks are separate entities.

A surprisingly individual and accomplished second album – go out and buy it!

www.milburnmusic.com


Simon Middleyard