Milo’s Planes – Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises (self release)
Released 23rd March
10 / 10
We’ve been getting into Milo’s Planes more and more every time we’ve seen or heard them; be it live supporting Mike Watt, on video, via last year’s EP and on that sneaky premiere of a track off their new album we ran a couple of weeks ago. Said album dropped properly today and once more it demonstrates an appreciable “raising of the bar” for the melodic lofi / DIY punk band from Bristol. As Ben Tansey explains below.
It’s taken all of two years, two EPs and two singles (all recorded in drummer Harry’s bedroom) for this noisy three piece from Bristol to serve up the punchiest, rawest and most addictive debut album I’ve heard in a long time. They rip through 15 razor sharp slices of post-punk fuzz noise in just half an hour, grabbing you by the soul and kicking you in the gut as it goes. The band site Wire and Fugazi amongst their biggest influences and whilst the concise brevity of the former and the post-hardcore punch of the latter are unmistakably recognisable, Milo’s Planes draw inspiration from far and wide and succeed in converting all of this diversity into something wonderfully difficult to categorise.
What makes this album so engaging is that it possess all the energy and urgency of the very best punk rock but at the heart of it lies an attention to detail and a talent for well structured, melodic songwriting that is nearly impossible to find in a music so charmingly rough around the edges. Joe Sherrin’s riffs don’t stay still for long, he jumps from one idea to the next without pause for breath and it is this ability to create such excitement and variety within a single song of under two minutes that makes the album so rewarding on repeated listens. The relentless rhythm section of brother Harry and bassist Charlie Horne push and pulsate in all the right places, but they also know how to make space and let a song breath, stopping just short of completely overwhelming the listener. Just.
Joe Sherrin’s characterful vocals also help set Milo’s Planes apart. He delivers his tales of everyday drudgery and occasional hope with great immediacy and without affectation, in a manner half way between the acerbic drawl of Mark E Smith and the earnest cry of a young Bob Mould.
Much like ‘Pink Flag’ by their beloved Wire, ‘Aural Palate Cleaning Exercises’ draws upon so many styles it’s impossible to pin it down. In fact the borderline obsession I’ve developed for this album reminds me of the first time I heard ‘Pink Flag’. Every song is a tease, sticking around just long enough to lure you in then vanishing and it’s on to the next. It prevents the catchy from becoming repetitive and demands you come back for more, each time falling in love just a little deeper. Yup, I just compared this album to the stone cold classic from 1977. And no, I won’t take it back.
All words by Ben Tansey. More writing by Ben on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.