13 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Anyone who's succumbed to Fleet Foxes' magical vocal harmonies may also fall for the Los Angeles folk-pop quintet Milo Greene. This band similarly switches up instruments from song to song while singing in gorgeous three- (and sometimes four-) part harmonies. At the epicenter of these heavenly voices is multi-instrumentalist and chanteuse Marlana Sheetz. “What’s the Matter” opens with her singing like an American Christine McVie over rustic baroque pop. Ample use of reverb makes the following “Orpheus” resonate with a haunting beauty, before the summery “Don’t You Give Up on Me” plays like Fleetwood Sparks (i.e., a perfect balance of Fleetwood Mac and Beachwood Sparks). The band treads close to Graceland-era Paul Simon (albeit with a heavy indie slant) in the harmonious and percussive “Perfectly Aligned,” where Sheetz lets her demure vocals break with a palpable heartache in the song’s more sublime moments. The band’s penchant for rambling like bona fide folkies is most evident in the catchy “1957,” while “Silent Way” plays like country shoegazing with its towering walls of traditional tones and layered singing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Anyone who's succumbed to Fleet Foxes' magical vocal harmonies may also fall for the Los Angeles folk-pop quintet Milo Greene. This band similarly switches up instruments from song to song while singing in gorgeous three- (and sometimes four-) part harmonies. At the epicenter of these heavenly voices is multi-instrumentalist and chanteuse Marlana Sheetz. “What’s the Matter” opens with her singing like an American Christine McVie over rustic baroque pop. Ample use of reverb makes the following “Orpheus” resonate with a haunting beauty, before the summery “Don’t You Give Up on Me” plays like Fleetwood Sparks (i.e., a perfect balance of Fleetwood Mac and Beachwood Sparks). The band treads close to Graceland-era Paul Simon (albeit with a heavy indie slant) in the harmonious and percussive “Perfectly Aligned,” where Sheetz lets her demure vocals break with a palpable heartache in the song’s more sublime moments. The band’s penchant for rambling like bona fide folkies is most evident in the catchy “1957,” while “Silent Way” plays like country shoegazing with its towering walls of traditional tones and layered singing.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
472 Ratings

472 Ratings

Cyrrona ,

Whispering Honey

Given the lofty standards that newly-charting bands (think The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men) have already set for 2012 folk music, Milo Greene could have easily slipped through the industry’s cracks with a middling, if likely comfortable, initial release. Fortunately for fans of this burgeoning genre, the California act's velvety debut supplies listeners with a song collection that’s both immediately listenable and far more sophisticated than first impressions may suggest.

Milo Greene’s rootsy musical stylings and heavy use of male/female vocal duets will inevitably draw comparisons with fellow folk group Of Monsters and Men—indeed, Milo Greene’s self-titled debut often feels like the more even-tempered, refined older sibling of the Iceland musicians’ My Head is an Animal—but Milo Greene trades in their counterpart’s frenetic joy for mellower moods and layered arrangements. While the swift-running “1957” lacks the jubilant horn hooks of Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks,” Milo Greene compensates by fully capitalizing on the potential inherent in dual-gender vocal interplay; instead of simply trading verses and rejoining in unison, Milo Greene weaves lovely harmonies together throughout the number to knit a mesmerizing, sonically-stitched quilt around the audience. They proceed to blanket this vocal diversity prominently across the entirety of the album, a production decision that laces the release with a distinctively silken texture. The band knows how to string catchy melodies together—see “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” “Perfectly Aligned,” and the aforementioned “1957” for examples—but they couple these folk-pop pleasures with genuine harmonic depth.

Milo Greene’s writing is also consistently strong here: the back half’s “Cutty Love” and “Son My Son” exude grace with their carefully crafted verses and gentle stylistic repetitions, while the wistful “Silent Way” manages to celebrate fresh romance, express anxieties about aging relationships and reflect on the passage of time in an impressively short span of three minutes. Though it’s a somewhat surprising decision considering the strength of their lyrics elsewhere, the album also features multiple instrumental tracks. These (thankfully brief) interruptions from the more substantial numbers are pleasant enough, but they crop up too often and consequently attribute the album with more passivity than it deserves. The group is at their definite best when they’re delivering smart lines in warm vocal harmony; .

Milo Greene has established musical credibility with their commendably smooth cardinal release and affirmed their right to exist at the forefront of this rapidly evolving melodic frontier. This folk record may lack the fiddlin’-quick tempo of its 2012 peers, but the band’s debut album is further proof that the soft-spoken are worth hearing.

Numerical Score: 4.25/5

LucidSound ,

Amazing

I am in love with this band. I have been waiting for the album since I saw them open for The Civil Wars. Amazing harmonies. Beautiful melodies. Their songs are nostalgic and ethereal. This band is going to do amazing things. As far as I'm concerned, they have already.

rebeccacarolh ,

Love it.

Saw them with The Civil Wars in 2011 and loved them immediately. Love their sound. I expected nothing less than the level of greatness that is this album.

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