MILLY: Eternal Ring (Dangerbird) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 6th, 2022  

MILLY

Eternal Ring

Dangerbird

Oct 07, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Eternal Ring, the debut record from Los Angeles band MILLY has been a long time coming, with the band originating as a solo vehicle for frontman Brendan Dyer. Since linking up with his bass player and collaborator Yarden Erez, the band has entered a phase they have coined as “MILLY 2.0,” inaugurated with the release of their 2021 EP, Wish Goes On. While last year’s EP introduced their hazy combination of ‘90s alternative, emo, and shoegaze, Eternal Ring is a tighter and more kinetic refinement, allowing the band’s nostalgic stylings to coalesce into a promising debut album.

From the first moments of Eternal Ring, it’s clear that Milly’s songwriting is thoroughly rooted in various shades of ‘90s alt rock. There are echoes of grunge classics at play, mixing in equal measure with the spacey shoegaze of Hum, along with strains of confessional indie rock, and even occasional hints of alt country twang. The band offers up a decadent melange of influences, cooked up with both a steadfast love for indie classics and an undeniably compelling rawness.

While many bands are able to evoke the gauzy and hazy side of these styles, MILLY succeeds most in how they imbue those styles with lean and punchy songwriting. Rather than remaining lost in a blur of guitar effects, MILLY’s melodies offer towering gut punches, as demonstrated by the anthemic chorus and pummeling rhythm section on the opener, “Illuminate.” Meanwhile, tracks like “Marcy” and “Nullify” show off some legitimately solid pop instincts, imbuing the band’s choruses with honeyed vocal melodies and sharp guitar hooks.

Elsewhere, the band diverges slightly from their blend of ‘90s influences, incorporating a wider swath of sounds that range from lush to intimate. Though “Ring True” eventually builds into a distorted finish, its opening is soft and ornate, with Dyer’s vocals recalling the plaintive confessionals of Death Cab for Cutie or other emo touchstones. The record also gets a simmering slow-burning centerpiece with “Stuck in the Middle,” a hypnotic cut that finds the band stretching their mercurial chemistry past eight minutes. In contrast, the closing tracks, “The End” and “Carousel,” are both darkly meditative efforts, with the former conjuring the crushing dream rock textures of DIIV and the latter building on winding guitar lines before the record culminates in a soulful show-stopping solo.

Running throughout these tracks are meditations on the chaos of daily life, living with the anxiety of a new cataclysm lying right around the corner. The record was written in the early days of the pandemic and that uncertainty tinges much of the album, reflected even in its frayed instrumental edges and the reckless abandon of the album’s instrumental peaks. Yet, for all of its ruminations on death and searching for meaning, Eternal Ring feels neither resigned nor despairing. Rather, the record finds vitality in its darker corners, bringing forth a record with plenty of joy if you know where to look for it, be it in a potent melody or heartfelt lyric. In fact, you can look no further than the closing invitation of “Illuminate”一“Shadows come in if no one will sing again/Rest all you can til sunlight comes in again.” (www.millymusicgroup.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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