Friday, March 17, 2017

An Album Review - “Blossom” by Milky Chance

     The sophomore album of Milky Chance was released today. The fourteen-track “Blossom” is more diverse than the debut album of the band. Here are comments on some (most) of the songs. 

     The album begins with its title track. “Blossom” is a strong choice for the lead because of its upper-to-lower (and back) energy transitions and its ability to function as a signal that the sound of the band is linked, but not locked, to what was presented in the first album (“Sadnecessary”). “Blossom” hints at the sampling of Folk instruments (e.g., the banjo), particularly in the final 30 seconds. But our favorite feature is the low-frequency bursts that sound like a bass guitar but are likely samplings, such as heard first at 1:46 and again at 1:54.

     “Ego” is ready for the festival scene, with its steady-pace infectious rhythm and its lyrics that invite audience participation.

     “Firebird” might become the favorite of fans looking for close matches to the sound of first album of Milky Chance. The song takes advantage of the producer/DJ skills of the band. The vocals are processed, particular during the closing of the song.

    “Clouds” is distinguishable from the other tracks by the Reggae vibe that surfaces during portions of the song. That “vibe” is strongest starting at 1:48 and is more sustained at 3:24.

     “Cold Blue Rain” and “Stay” are both downtempo tracks, evidencing the diversity of Milky Chance. While first hearing “Cold Blue Rain,” it was marked as a song to discuss. However, we didn’t fully appreciate the melody until seeing the harmonica-featured song in a live setting. The harmonica is not the dominate feature of the song, but it isn't a mere support sound either. When the harmonica is present, the Bluesy sensibility of "Cold Blue Rain" is in full force.

     “Alive” – Instrumentally, this song lives in the lower frequencies. And “Piano Song” is true to its name.

     “Cocoon” is the track that is currently hitting the radio, at least the satellite radio stations in the U.S. Like “Ego,” it is a song that will do very well in any concert setting.

     The guitar during the chorus of “Peripeteia” brings a movie Western approach. The song has the best instrumental bridge on the album, starting at 2:30 and continuing to 3:04.

     “Heartless” – Begins low energy, but the tempo increases after a couple of minutes and after the third minute of the melody. The harmonica again makes its presence felt. This time it has the slow-play style of a “Spaghetti Western,” such as found in songs of the 1968 film “Once Upon a Time in the West” (if interested, CLICK HERE for the Spaghetti Western style). In “Heartless,” the best example is the segment from 4:06 to 5:00, as the harmonica travels in and out of the instrumentation. The important difference between the song and the Spaghetti Westerns is that Milky Chance uses the style with spirited percussion that is difficult to ignore.

 This is the setlist performed by Milky Chance during their San Francisco visit (March 10 at The Independent). In terms of energy, the setlist is “front loaded.”
1. “Clouds”
2. "Ego”
3. “Blossom”
4. “Doing Good”
5. “Firebird”
6. “Flashed Junk Mind”
7. “Peripeteia”
8. “Cold Blue Rain”
9. “Fairytale”
10. “Down By the River”
11. “Sadnecessary”
12. “Alive”
13. “Bad Things”
14. “Loveland”
15. “Cocoon”

16. “Stolen Dance”
17. “Sweet Sun”

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