Light and Dark. Hard and soft. Singer/songwriter and metal. These contradictions are abundant and incredibly congruent in Milk’s new album, Horsetown Threshold (out 6/2/2017 via Midnight Werewolf Records).
Listen: Horsetown Threshold (album) – Milk
The Boston-based rock quartet, made up of Matt Brady, Sam Taber, H.L Weatherby and Brian Engles, has succeeded in creating a deep, twisted world among acoustic guitars and heavy rock riffs. Atwood Magazine is proud to premiere Horsetown Threshold, an album more than one of our staff members has found to be unique and entirely inspiring.
The album fades in with beautiful, soothing acoustic guitar. “Too High To Drive,” the opening track, would initially lead listeners to believe the album will follow a common pattern: light guitar and vocals will comfort and connect with meaningful messages and feel-good moments. It sounds like a Sirius XM coffeehouse dream. Until it isn’t. The dreamy tune quickly erupts in manic world of it’s own, engulfing lyrics and consuming just seconds of the otherwise delicate track. The tune continues in this pattern, moments of smooth clarity giving into attacks of over-amped guitar mania in what can only be described as a jaw-dropping, individual attempt at modern day rock.
The first song alone is an incredible standout, proving that Milk has a voice to share, a vision barely touched in today’s alternative rock world. From its soothing starting point, Horsetown Threshold quickly evolves into a rock and roll dream, complete with star-quality guitar riffs in perfect tune. “Horsetown” is a prime example of Milk’s innovation in technique, this time combining heavy, loud instrumentals with a decrease in momentum. As vocals are added, the song takes a new form in a psychedelic, ominous pool until it gives in to a beautiful, non-resistant melody.
“A Truck At The Bottom Of A Lake” owns another slow start, solidifying Milk as a tempo-conscious project as well as stating Horsetown Threshold as an unconventional mood-provoking piece of art.
The rest of the album follows accordingly. “Fishin’” takes a bit of a hard rock hiatus, keeping the classic inspiration yet decreasing the edge and allowing a true breath of peace to catch up with listeners. This changes as the second half of the song kicks into a much-welcomed higher gear, again displaying Milk’s incredible classic guitar influence.
“Lord, Don’t Take Me To Prison” is one of the first songs with a visible, relatable melody. It draws from folk rock, adding elements from classic rock, creating a strangely nostalgic, yet new, combination of sounds.
“IRS,” “Vietnam” and “Then Again” conclude the album with a similar feel. “IRS” serves as another manic manifestation of pure energy. “Vietnam” sounds like a page out of the book of Kurt Cobain and serves as a worthy comparison to the root of grunge. “Then Again” slows down the pace for a dreamy rock tune fit for any late-night venue.
Milk has crafted an incredibly shocking, energy-filled, angst provoking album that sings to the tune of Nirvana and the grunge gods before. Still, it balances the heavy moments with breaths of air, stringing tunes together with acoustic and electric and yells and whispers. The opposites are blaring throughout, creating an internal altercation that somehow manifests as beautiful noise.
Together, the album is an outstanding collection in its own right. The sound is something familiar, yet something lost in the transition of modern music to electronic based-creations. This sense of current influence is not lost completely, but the instrumentals and sound design decisions on Horsetown Threshold lead listeners to wonder what ever happened to the hard-rock sound. It has been well missed, and Milk should be celebrated as an ode to the old and a cheers to the new. Listen to the full record through Atwood Magazine’s exclusive stream, and peek inside Horsetown Threshold with Atwood Magazine as Milk provide their personal take on each of the album’s songs.
:: Inside Horsetown Threshold ::
Too High To Drive
Actually about being too low to be able to do what you want to do, even everyday nominal things. I think it might be a feeling that I then associated with the place I lived in… Seeing the same places everyday, feeling like it’s an endless loop, and how much you can take before it’s past the “threshold” if you will. We’re pleased with this track, I think it’s the backbone of the album.
This is more about the people around me and how quickly feelings can change about them day to day or hour to hour. All relationships are different but they’re all the same in the sense that you get what you give to them. That’s what this ones about, how much to give and if that’s worth it.
At The Bottom Of A Lake
This is one I did myself, I think it was the first track that was finished and album worthy. It’s about taking things slow and the value of being alone sometimes. The truck image seemed like the quietest most peaceful place to me, nothing sinister in my mind, just calm and quiet down there.
This is a relationship gone south song and about feeling responsible for it. The guitar tone at the second half is pretty special I think.. has a lot of emotion behind it.
Lord, Don’t Take Me To Prison
We just did a video for this with our friend playing basketball in slow motion with a cowboy hat on, and that’s just what it’s about. Not being concerned about being who you are. Prison being the anxiety involved with trying to do that.
About not understanding huge corporate systems and how they’re into all the shit you think is personal. I’m being audited so I guess this track is a lie at the end of the day.
.I was trying to get at the nature of humans as far as inherent violence or greed. The new colonial America, shit is still the same as Roman times, we’re just to busy on IG to think about it too much.
I wrote this for a friend who was leaving Boston as a goodbye. I think anyone who creates anything has a sense of leaving a part of themselves behind or giving it to others. I just wanted to mark the height on the wall if you get that. And it’s a good song to say goodbye with.
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cover © 2017