Milburn -Well Well Well

You can view this debut album from the Joe Carnall fronted four piece in one of two ways. You could either listen to the first two tracks, ‘Well Well Well’ and ‘Showroom’ then come to the conclusion that the driving mod riffs and high pitched dialogue vocal swagger, renders Milburn copycat crime committers under the Arctic Monkeys Act 2006. However, you could also take note of the bigger instrumental sound and the personal nature of the Joe Carnall penned lyrics, sticking out in the thrusting chorus of the latter track and see something more;

 “The book that you’re reading is upside down,
   The book that you’re reading is upside down.”

The Kooks skirting ‘Send In The Boys’ is the anthem that has no doubt helped Milburn’s profile build up, long before this release that has been put back a few weeks to coincide with their UK tour. This number captures the potency of their live sound best of all and it helps you see why they sold out venues in their own right early on, despite being on the bill as the support act for The Rifles. The conjoined chant of the chorus is a step back into new wave territory, hinting early on that is a tad dangerous to typecast this passionate and swaggering outfit. The thundering percussion drilled potency of Joe Green, displayed in ‘Cheshire Cat Smile’, blends in some winding retro rock guitars akin to The Rolling Stones.

Variety reaches its peak in the ska littered ‘Storm In A Teacup’ that uses the same format of singing about stuff that happens to you, but approaches it in a refreshing musical way. ‘Last Bus Home’ is doused with heartfelt longing and displays Joe Carnall at his most vocally yearning. Whilst, on the whole, the lyrics are consistently bemused and a little downtrodden, the pace and range of the music produces different moods to give varying perspectives on universal and life-tackling subjects. There is enough here to separate Milburn from other acts around, as the tension releasing and anxiety airing nature of these Sheffield musos is not something that can be achieved by mere copying alone.

David Adair

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