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Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock The Milk and Honey Band- Dog Eared Moonlight


ARTIST: The Milk & Honey Band

ALBUM: Dog Eared Moonlight

LABEL: Ape House

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 3-20-09

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Mainly the project of Robert White (formerly of Levitation), the Milk and Honey Band has been signed to Andy Partridge's Ape House label for their last two albums, and as this release indicates, it's a good fit. White's sense of rich but intimate pop arrangements and bittersweetness mirrors Partridge's work in XTC while still having an originality on its own. The comparisons are most inescapable on "Incredible Visions," its vocals floating up and down over acoustic guitar-based rock 'n' roll strums that call to mind early David Bowie, and on "Absolutely Wrong," with its tinkling harp intro giving way to a mellow pop number buoyed by sugary sweet backing harmonies and strings. On his best compositions, though, he leaves the more cerebral pop arrangements behind in favor of solid, simple songwriting underscored by just a hint of folksiness, as on the dreamy finger-picking of "Disappear," the stark but tender acoustic ballad "Flowers," and the gently mournful steel guitar moan of "No World at All." If this material can be bleak and bittersweet at times, White is also eminently capable of writing straightforward pop, as he does on "Waste of Time," a straightforward power pop love song that recalls the best work of Matthew Sweet. There's nothing subversive or avant-garde here, just artful songwriting and smooth melodies, and given his blend of accessibility and real talent, White should be much more popular than he is. For now, though, pick up this album and see if it doesn't make you an instant fan.

Check out Ape House's website at apehouse.prevuz.com for more information.


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