Sound: What's that you say? You've never heard of the Tim McMilland Band? Well I don't blame you. These guys are a little treasure of mine that my friend recently brought back from Australia. Based in Melbourne, the Tim McMillan Band are a trio consisting of (unsurprisingly) Tim McMillan on guitar and vocals, Brad Lewis on Bass and vocals and a man known only as "Crutey" on the drums. Oh, and vocals.
These guys are a tiny little indie band and they play their own genre of music called Post Goblincore. However, for those of you who will undoubtedly demand a more regular definition I would classify them as acoustic, folk, alternative, perhaps even a little bit progressive. However you want to classify it there's no denying that these guys put together some wonderfully unique and imaginative music. Tim is no slouch on the guitar, with an excellent sense of phrasing. He writes some terrific little riffs and makes no small use of harmonics and beating out rhythms on the body of his acoustic. His inventive and captivating guitar lines are what make the Tim McMillan band unique.
Some of the standout songs are:
X - The second track on the album after a short intro. It has arguably the greatest lick and chords of the entire album. One of the most energic songs, the chops Tim displays on this never fail to amaze me. Combined with a tempo drop and dreamy vocals in what you could loosely call the chorus, this is a strong contender for best song on the album and an excellent opener.
Baden - Some crazy sort of scale in this that makes is sound halfway between some sort of traditional Irish folk and a Sitar. Vocals are minimal, adding just a little extra atmosphere to flesh out the stellar guitar work.
Close - This song has almost a medieval sound. Again, accompanied by dreamy vocals this song just makes me want to close my eyes. It's incredibly relaxing and atmospheric, taking you on a journey in a way only music can. // 9
Lyrics: Vocals are definitely not the main focus of this record. They are always minimal, always dreamy and thin, more a part of the instrumentation than their own individual piece. I wouldn't call any of the guys a tremendous vocalist but the vocals compliment the music perfectly, enhancing that ethereal sound these guys have nailed down and adding texture to the music. Truth be told, I'd be more than happy with an entirely instrumental album, but the vocals lift it just a little bit and improve it.
Lyrics aren't anything groundbreaking, but then again lyrics are a divisive thing. Some think they are the most important part of a song, others don't believe they're important at all. I prefer lyrics with meaning or a message. Whatever your standpoint, you wont be disappointed by the vocals on this record, nor will you be blown away. // 8
Overall Impression: I can't really think of many bands I can use as a comparison to these guys. I've honestly never heard anything like them. Then again, my knowledge of folk and acoustic rock is somewhat limited. If you could perhaps imagine Joshua Radin with more shredding and energy then you'd be somewhere close. I really do believe the Tim McMilland Band have a unique sound and that everyone should give them a listen. If you're a folk rock freak or an acoustic afficionado I'd urge you to head over to their myspace and check out some of the songs there.
If I had to level some criticism at the album, I'd say that the overall tone and atmosphere never really changes. The songs do sound similar, but they do have their unique little quirks and themes. However, the entire album is a dreamy soundscape and at about midway it can get a little bit boring. None of the songs arw weak, but you'll probably find yourself skipping to your personal favourites rather than listening from start to finish.
However, as a first album from a small independent Aussie band this is an excellent effort. Their unique sound and quirky sensibilities will no doubt draw a dedicated fanbase. My friend tells me that Tim also engages the audience with a little bit of comedy during live shows.
Overall, there's no one I wouldn't recommend this album to. It's one of those gems that can be so easily overlooked but should be picked up and experienced. // 9