Milk is a Vancouver band that used to be called Watermelon. Apart from being thirsty/hungry, the Vancouver band is also possibly one of the nicest slices of sound occupying 2016 so far.
Late Bloomer EP is a slanted, sleepy trip of a record. Vocalist/guitarist Thom James plays out the lowest common denomenators of teenhood, accompanied by Cobain-guitar simplicity and a drawling vocal delivery. Effect-laden as some of the weirdness on the record may be, the arrangements on the EP are simple by a rule — the band showed off their shredding tendencies in the much heavier world of Watermelon, and Late Bloomer is decidedly more pop-heavy. Sparse spaces like the majority of “Marmalade” make the record a special kind of experiment for a Vancouver band, a project maybe closer to the open avenues of drone manipulation than most people would expect a pop group to stray towards.
The EP has real mellow beauty to it. You’re not Canadian if you don’t get nostalgic listening to a track called “Funeral.” And a track so titled that is also chill, articulate indie is just too damn appetizing to resist frothing at the mouth over. “‘No Evil’ Oil” is also just as bare-chestedly sentimental: piano and slide and lyrics like “remembering the days before the world was strange.” More mouth frothing there.
Late Bloomer EP is good noise, charitable to its listener, and hopefully real soul food to the performers — it sounds like it is. Milk are hardened veterans of never making any money in the Canadian music world, and they deserve an album like this: smart, sincere, funny, and most importantly, fun. It’s pretty special that the EP opens with a track called “Don’t Laugh,” and ends with Thom singing “I don’t mind if you’re the kind of guy who can’t take a joke — that’s ok.” Like I said, smart, sincere, funny, and fun.
Top Track: “Funeral”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + swoop