Published Feb 01, 2019Vancouver quartet Milk toe the line between dreamy jangle-pop and alt-country, created with uniquely blended accoutrements in the form of clarinet and violin arrangements. The result makes their debut, Mattress Ranch, a fun and breezy listen, turning many of genre conventions on their head and showing the promise of a band effortlessly proving they're more than just another "bedroom" band.
Throughout, there are moments where singer and multi-instrumentalist Thomas James delivers his self-effacing lyrics with a raw earnestness underscored by playful instrumentation. Musings of heartbreak trickle through on "Melty," an ode to heartbreak dripping with dissonant guitar fills juxtaposed against their more lo-fi tendencies.
A twist this album throws in is the standout use of violins and even some woodwinds. Jessica Delisle and Adrienne Labelle bring their features to life and transform the album into a much baroque affair. The psych-folk freakout on opener "Gold Home" is only buoyed by the fantastic and off-kilter clarinet solo, a moment rarely heard but much appreciated.
An impressive debut, Mattress Ranch offers a little something for everyone: mellow, country vibes blended with some softer touches and a few left-field choices. While still having some kinks regarding tracks blending together and borderline Michael Stipe-levels of incomprehensible lyrics, it's a solid foundation to build on. Like the real thing, Milk is smooth, refreshing and a vital part of your balanced country music diet. (Independent)