Saturday, 28 August 2010

Album Review: Good Morning Milo - Through The Chaos & Clatter (Part One)

Good Morning Milo are a fresh and exciting new band from San Diego, CA. They are an "an upbeat group of musicians that write songs about combating the obstacles in our lives that prevent our happiness" and I've recently been wrapping my ears around their infectious tunes. Their latest album, Through The Chaos Clatter has found its way into my playlist and below, as per, you can check out my track-by-track review. Be sure to stay tuned for Part two where I'll delve into the latter half of the album.

1/Pickup Lines - I love the first track of an album. The anticipation is mounting as iTunes figures everything out in 0s and 1s; my fingers poised at the keyboard and waiting. I think every album should start with drums, as Pickup Lines does here. It's energetic, it grabs you and really makes me want to listen. The guitar intro plays around a progressive riff-based kick with long changes in between the chords, before the initial hook of the song drops in on the lead guitar line. I feel this is shaping up to be a musical introduction, before the real album begins. It's a cool trend to follow and could be 'their thing'; starting each album and even live show with a musical opener.

2/Win Her - The segue is flawless as Win Her comes in unnoticed. On top of the band now stabbing away with the same chord progression - held in check with a punchy snare - the lead vocals burst in and the album is really underway. I like the confident feel that the vocals produce; an assured style that boasts hints of Country when it really lets loose. The song has really grown since the chorus hit; each musician straying away from their regimented intros and off exploring their own musical paths. It was great to pick out the synth in the second verse and hear it sticking around for the second chorus; the song is still building and the chorus has a great hook, whilst the overall feel of the song captures a great enthusiasm for music in general. I don't often like dual-layered guitar lines but it works in the breakdown section, as the drums and bass furiously build behind them. The solo feels short lived but this song is definitely about the chorus. As the breakdown builds before the final chorus the drums sound a little sloppy, just trailing behind the rest of the band but once the last chorus does come back around they catch up no problem. At exactly three and a half minutes, I love the ending, rounding off my first real encounter with the band.

3/Settling - This a really upbeat, frenzied and full-on pop/rock number. The dual-layered vocals idea is used again here and continues to work perfectly, as the verses build on top of great-sounding guitar parts that really showcase the song-writing capabilities of this band. It's a really commercial sounding song and the chorus has a great laid-back feel with the vocal melodies whilst maintaining the energy of the verses. The falsetto vocals sound just as strong as the initial range which is important; often a falsetto vocal can sound noticeably weaker. The bridge section isn't the strongest part of the song but works well as a link before the last chorus, which is bigger than its predecessors with the noticable inclusion of the synth in the mix. The fade-out definitely adds to the 'radio-friendly' feel of the track and is the perfect ending.

4/To Kill A Songbird - I love the funky solo groove at the beginning of this track and the acoustic guitar part works really well alongside as the track builds to the first verse. The disco-feel pre-chorus has a cool feel and although musically the song is quite busy with quick funky drums, picky guitar and fast-paced vocals it all seems to gel together well. The vocals themselves have a slight Brandon Boyd feel and the bridge section feels a lot more thought-out; once more the harmonies in the vocals are obviously well-considered. The sparse glockenspiel part sounds slighty atonal; I'm sure it's written with the home key in mind but I'm not keen on its placement in this particular song, it sounds like more of an after-thought. The choruses are really strong and I can imagine this being a real crowd-rousing number. I wasn't so sure of the outro section, the guitar-riff sounded a little amateurish and generally unnecessary whilst I thought it would have been better just ending on the final chorus.

5/Number One Killer - I like the feel the drums go for in this song, but feel they needed to be boosted a little more in the mix to stand up on their own, to make up for the lack of a sloshing hi-hat and the snare itself sounded a little dry. The groove though lends itself to the song well and it's nice to hear a drummer exploring and daring to be a little different rather than settling with the same feel for every song. The guitar work is simple but effective, and the choruses build well in two seperate parts and my head is definitely nodding along with the more metal-inspired guitar work. This song carries on the Incubus feel in my opinion, although I didn't like the melisma in the elongated vocal line halfway though the track; it would have sounded stronger had the vocalist just held the note without wavering. The piano really stands its ground after the solo section and is a welcome inclusion, once more displaying the song-writing abilities of the group and their understanding of song structures. The outro is really nice, as everything falls away leaving the drums easing off as the vocals and piano round off the song. A really nice touch and I've really enjoyed this song.

6/Feel The Crash - I think the piano player has staked a big claim for his place in the band, as he kicks off Feel The Crash, accompanying a really nice, heart-felt vocal. The cello is the perfect addition as the second verse comes around, the vocals now displaying more a Plain White Tees tone. It's really nice to take a step back from the full-on energetic numbers this band writes so well with a beautiful piano ballad.

7/The Proposal - An interesting intro greets me at the half-way point of the album. It blends into chugging electric guitar and a real electro drone before kicking into a great big riff laden, open hi-hat explosion complete with dual-guitars leading into...

8/Engaged - ...another cool segue as track 8 bursts in. The energy of the band are certainly back from the bar, joining the singer who's been here since the start and they're ready to go again. The sections of songs are often fast-paced, and so the subtle hints of the half-time feels every so often work really well to neutralise this and give the respective tracks a well-rounded feel. I like the syncopated disco grooves used; the song is a bit of a mix of styles which is great, it certainly doesn't feel odd or over the top. There's a lot of angst and passion in the solo section which really comes across strongly to the listener and I love the synth role as it comes in just after, once more building the final stages of the song. The best way to describe the song is, I think, organised chaos.

Be sure to stay tuned and check back soon for Part 2 of the review!

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)