Los Angeles’s Milo Greene is not one person, as the name might suggest, but rather five, and the indie-folk band’s music is also accurately described as a collective. On its self-titled debut, Milo Greene builds layers of complex harmonies and sing-along choruses into a total that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
The stand-out track here, “1957”, employs another bit of mathematics—in this case, the rule of three. The verses are quiet and sparse, building with gradually more and more backing instrumentation. By the time the chorus hits, the song’s momentum strikes critical mass, and the vocals explode. The initial repetition of “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go/ I” is layered over a second line: “Takes me away, takes me away, takes me away.” Whether it’s the inherent satisfaction of those sets of three or the addictive rise and fall of the harmonies, “1957” warrants repeated listens.
Once you get past “1957” (and allow some time, because you’re going to need it), the rest of the album is equally enchanting. The soft-spoken driver “Don’t You Give Up On Me” uses the same principles to darker effect, with a lyrical echo in the opening line “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go/ wherever you go” before the titular chorus lyric takes over. Similarly, the lush ballad “Son My Son” plays with sets of two for a reassuring effect over soft percussive spills, dreamy guitars, and punchy tambourines. The line “only/ only when you’re sleeping” plays in and out with the titular “son my son” and “True/ so true/ two by two”, winding upwards into a soothingly repetitive pattern.
Some shorter efforts are interspersed between the full tracks. The most notable of those is “Polaroid”, which clocks in at a scant 1:07 and features a spacey, down-tempo string melody, with faster percussion filling in from behind to create a striking sense of balance.
The only downside here is that the overall formula itself gets repetitive after a few listens; the sound runs together at times, and you can accidentally slip through multiple tracks without noticing the transition. But this is a minor complaint about what is otherwise a gorgeously arranged and executed album. Overall, Milo Greene’s folk-rock alchemy adds up to one impressive debut.
Essential Tracks: “1957”, “Son My Son”