Did people think the Beach Boys were too precious? Did they think Fleetwood Mac was affected?
Those questions creep uncomfortably into the mind while listening to Milo Greene’s self-titled release.
The Los Angeles-based quintet — which doesn’t feature a member named Milo Greene — faintly resembles those iconic predecessors, at least during its better moments. But there’s an icky, overly sweet taste that sours the enjoyment ... especially as the release gets stuck in fuzzy redundancy.
There’s no lead singer in this band of four men and one woman, just a lot of harmonies and alternating solo voices. It’s an effective means to convey the songs’ search for universal meaning, plus it makes for alluring atmosphere.
Like other contemporary artpop bands, Milo Greene sounds unassuming, yet conversely, self-important.
Nevertheless the release is often intoxicating as the group puts a shoe-gazer spin on 1970s folk-rock and gently layers in cascading four-part vocal harmonies that echo in the background, a bit off-center as a happy result of second-tier production values.
The group is persuasively pensive, hanging on the title refrain of “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” soaring in the spaciousness of “What’s the Matter” and giving member Marlana Sheetz a chance to evoke dreamy bliss in a “Perfectly Aligned” that swells into grandstanding.
“Milo Greene” gets additional push from a feisty rhythm section, as on the single “1957,” which keeps the more meditative elements on the release from drifting into inertia.
Still, “Milo Greene” ultimately fades into a flaccid funk. The pretty strains conglomerate into an inconsequential ending, a lightweight (if inoffensive) air that contradicts lines like, “Even if your heart stops, I’ll be there to hold you up” (on the track “Cutty Love”).
Funny how something so inviting and elegant can turn vaguely off-putting, but at least “Milo Greene” takes a while to break down.
Rating: 3 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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