The Milky Baskets’ latest release, Native Lands, is lo-fi – like really lo-fi. Have you ever heard an album by the incredible band Woods? Well this makes that sound like it was recorded in a million dollar studio. These songs are lo-fi but the songs work. They actually work really well at points. The thing that saves this whole project from being a complete mess at times is the vocals, which sound great. I’m not sure what type of effects he was using but I loved the way they sounded. Another thing that is done with pure brilliance is how he completely owns the lo-fi sound. For example, “Termite Cathedral” which according to the artist is about mindless following, starts with a really cool bluesy riff not unlike something you might hear from M. Ward. The guitar and vocals were perfectly fine to hold down the song but I thought the subtle percussion was very fitting. It sort of reminded me of why I really appreciated an album like Beck’s One Foot from the Grave. It sounded like people were just banging on pots and pans but still sounded fantastic.
The Native Lands EP starts out with “Cargo Cult” which is a glorious mess of noise that layers lead guitar on a bed of slightly untuned clean guitars. I loved the lyric “underneath the veil you won’t forget the whale” as well as his other rather quirky lyrics, which may be comparable to a band like Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. “Gone” ends the six-minute EP in the right way with a song that ends before it begins. The song sounded unpolished, gritty and completely endearing in some way.
The first time you hear this EP you may be inclined to say you heard better music coming from a 12 year old’s music recital but give it a chance because behind the bad production is a whole bunch of talent that actually embraces his lo-fi aesthetic and for the most part makes it work.
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