The name Alex Riggen may ring a bell for anyone who has listened to his previous bands Far From Words and Murnau. Alex Riggen is also no stranger to the solo album, having released Rabbit in 2012. Here, we explore his sophomore solo effort, Milk.
The eight songs on this album are lo-fi, indie pop gems that are subtle and full of melancholy. His music is solid but his strained voice that fastens emotion into every word is what really makes it work.
“Crown” kicks the album off with an atmospheric touch of electronic jazz, with taunting vocals (vocals that bring to mind the glory days of 80s pop). The song combines organ, distant reverb laced guitar and palm muted guitar to deliver a tranquil experience that provides a suitable foreground for his emotionally charged vocal performance
“Milk” is sludgey and smoothly thick with a layer of soft pop - not unlike the beverage itself. “Telephone” provides a poignant break from the action with nothing but piano chords carried by desperate hushed whispers. It brings to mind the ending of Side A on a cassette tape.
“Stand”, then, would be the beginning to Side B. The tone and mood of the album has now changed to a more sallow, mature sound. “Soot” is dirty and heavy, and easily the most descriptive song on the album with deep guitar chords and howls in the atmosphere giving the illusion of a lone ranger walking through the desert, desolate and forlorn. Upbeat “Lick” brings back the whimsy of the first half of the album, with a touch of the complexity being shown in the previous few songs. The last track, “Toolbox”, is a reflective, powerful piece that ends the album on a soothing note.
Albums like Milk are so intriguing because of the journey that they lead you on. This was an incredibly mature, solid listen with the right amount of nuance and drama balancing the upbeat fun.
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