Milk Lines - Ceramic

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2015-12-04

The old adage to not mix business with pleasure may still hold true. There have been many husband and wife team-ups within the history of music and for some it has been successful and for others a path of certain disaster. The group Milk Lines consists of Montreal originating husband and wife team Jeff Clarke and Emily Frances Bitze, both on guitars and vocals. These two bring their lo-fi 60s garage-folk-injected psychedelic-rockabilly-infused syrup to a full-length debut, Ceramic, themed with deathly esoteric ponderings, to be swallowed.

Jeff’s vocals on the album switch between Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, while Emily Frances’ vocals recall at times Courtney Love and Stevie Nicks. The instrumentation is sparse jangly and clanging, providing a raw live room sound, in an almost analogue demo tape fashion.

The initial track ‘Planes Of Neptune’ could be an Early Pink Floyd meets Jefferson Airplane marching band tribute, also ‘Came From Her’ with ‘Crystal Crown’,  ‘Pellucidar’ is driving guitar drone with sweet country harmonies recalling The Everley Brothers, ‘Golden Torpedo’ holds a Velvet Underground  downer vibe with Jeff delivering a bluesy melodic vocal swagger. ’Another Breed’ has the same texturing with the instruments, with icy cold vocal lines by Emily, ‘Lucille’ rolls along in what could be a hoe down interrupted by a grunge riot grrl, see also ‘Crib Death’.  ‘Suicide Note’ reels off as happy go lucky country with a reading of someone’s last words, see also ‘Can I Stand in Your Sun’. The tongue-in-cheek ‘Purgatory’ showcases Emily’s high pitched vocals slide over a clean arpeggiated guitar pattern, joined by horse neighing like guitar effects.

Having previously heard a great recorded cover of Kurt Cobain’sSappy’ by the group, this album was expected to be of the same feel. Whilst this creative couple may endear many with their song writing eccentricity, and certainly may raise a few retrospective eyebrows. It is the lack of tonal dynamics which ultimately let the album down. Then again, there can be held an expectation it could all change on the next album.

 

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