Spilt Milk - Carnet de Voyage

Betraying an umbilical link to some bug eyed kids programme soundtrack from the late 60s/early 70s (yes they were like that, trust me), it’s possibly their most pop release to date and deserves your time and attention. Oh and a predictably cracking cover from artiste du jour, Viktor Hachmang; NL’s very own Barney Bubbles.

 

 

http://thespiltmilkandbrenda.bandcamp.com/

 

Well well, look at this, another marvellous record from Spilt Milk – their gypsy caravan has turned up again, albeit with a shinier coat and a tougher undercarriage. The Milk’s basic idea, (nabbing classic poems and making cracking songs out of them), is still a well that has yet to draw dry. This time it seems a stronger, more determined focus is brought to their release, there’s a much better pace to everything, someone’s actually thought about the running order, and someone’s made the decision to show off the pop sensibilities the band proudly brandish in their live shows.

This is not a gauche release: Marc sometimes sounded as if he’d been locked in a shed on previous material, but now he’s much more to the fore with his voice, it’s close to the mic; softer, and somehow more assured. The PR hinted at drone folk but sorry I can’t see that, this is no mash up of Witthuesser & Westrupp and Tony Conrad, this is closer to those bier Keller / East German takes on R&B - which sounded madder than anything that tried to infuse rock with academia. Like that last quiet rural (but ever so slightly bug-eyed) strumming track on the Faust Tapes this music is closer to druggy European or psych pop mantras like Adam and Eve’s Desert SongThe Cytherean Glade is a classic pop cut moody, self-assured and something Julian Cope would have done back in his Tamworth years: a beautiful set of chord changes that allow a fab descent. There are too many clever twists and hooks here for it to be labelled drone-folk. Nope, if Iren Lovasz was “in a rockin’ band” I think it’d sound like this.

The band’s love of the Velvet Underground is there for all to hear: Rendevous by Rolling Rhone has that daft little that Sister Ray organ tooting away in the background and One More Sunset could be their very own Pale Blue Eyes. The Grass Grows and the Wind Blows is a plodding funeral march close to Cale & Riley’s Church of Anthrax. By highlighting these comparisons, I’m not knocking Carnet de Voyage or damning with faint praise, quite the reverse. I love it.

We can hear that everything’s more muscular, and the rhythm and the melodies are much more pronounced than from their raggle-taggle, howling at the moon / sister midnight releases from a few years back. Only I Am Weary or On An Old Guitar sound like their old recordings. The other “quiet” track, Chinese Rocket, is a track that is much closer in spirit to Silver Jews than some blokes pissing about in Noordwijk. Still some things never change: Brenda always sounds like she‘s just put down her embroidery or something and is about to tell the bairns a bedtime story.

Betraying an umbilical link to some bug eyed kids programme soundtrack from the late 60s/early 70s (yes they were like that, trust me), it’s possibly their most pop release to date and deserves your time and attention. Oh and a predictably cracking cover from artiste du jour, Viktor Hachmang; NL’s very own Barney Bubbles.