Over the last three years, Milks & Rectangles have released a steady flow of free-Ps that showed a preference for energy, anthems and Brit influenced swagger.
Tomorrow, the band will be releasing their debut self-titled LP, and even if front man Christian Ledwell’s vocals still sound more suited for Mod nights than any Sloan/Thrush Hermit type East Coast collaborations, there is a new found patience and maturity in his songwriting this time around.
The LP is still full of energy and hooks (“Animal Lover”, “Heart’s the Target” and “Boston Brahmin” could still blow the roof off a bar), but never relies on either to keep the songs surging forward. The band, remarkably considering most of the album was written as real life commitments and obligations required Stretch Armstrong like arms to keep in touch (or e-mail I guess), seems more in sync and focused. I’m sure producer Daniel Ledwell helped the band play to their strengths, but circumstances forced the band to move slower and offered time to edit/evaluate the output.
This record is enjoyable on a casual listen, but it’s the unexpected moments sparkle. The group vocals on the chorus of “Don’t Fall Into The Wrong Hands” could have been crammed into a booming hook on any of the previous EPs, but the song is defined by the soft texture (according to the band, a synth patch that’s modeled on the mellotron, the ’60’s keyboard that triggered tape samples like the flute sound at the start of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”) that weaves around the guitar and drums. Ledwell and lead guitarist Justin Uyterlinde also throw the listener a change up with the surprisingly muscular guitar work and vocal delivery of “Bad Czech.”
It’s no secret that we’re fans of Milks & Rectangles here at the Hill, but the LP is the first time we’ve felt like the band is growing up and looking at music as a career, not just a way to get their friends and fans to dance. While the latter is enough reason to keep writing, the former is what keeps a band pushing forward and gaining momentum.