Release Date: Sep 13, 2011
Record label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Being hospitalised can do wonders for creativity. Brian Eno invented his ambient music after listening to barely audible harp music from his sickbed after being hit by a car. Almost four decades later, Milagres frontman Kyle Wilson poured his feelings into their debut while recuperating from a broken back after a fall. You probably shouldn't try that at home, but it has resulted in a surging album.
This isn't an advertisement, but some pre-orders of Milagres' Glowing Mouth comes packaged with a set of adorable boy band-esque trading cards. The Brooklyn quintet answer various fan club-type questions that are pretty comical. Lead singer-songwriter and guitarist Kyle Wilson spills the beans about his dream car, first crush, and favorite food. Fraser McCulloch (bass, backing vocals, keys), Eric Schwortz (guitar, backing vocals, percussion), Chris Brazee (piano/keys), and Steven Leventhal (drums/percussion) divulge details on first kisses, favorite video games, turn-ons, pet peeves, and favorite drinks.
The adage "no pain, no gain" could have been coined for Kyle Wilson. In 2009, disillusioned with music, the Milagres' singer broke his back rock climbing, prompting him to write a fresh batch of songs while recovering from his injury. The result is the Brooklyn band's promising first album, which, though indebted to a handful of acts (Wild Beasts, Coldplay, Grizzly Bear), is quietly dramatic and, at best, lyrical.
Milagres are from Brooklyn but they seem like a "Brooklyn band" in ways that that extend beyond geography. Despite those zeitgeisty triangles on the album cover, their debut LP, Glowing Mouth, brings to mind that period between 2005 and 2009, when the borough pumped out earnest rock bands that embraced ornate, occasionally anthemic song structures and on-the-cusp-of-turning-30 neuroses. Needless to say, things have changed since then, as James Murphy's decade-old jab about how "your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables" has more or less become reality (again).
I want to like Milagres, and, for the most part, I do. The Brooklyn quintet has garnered praise across the board for their hook-driven, keyboard-laden songs like first single “Here To Stay”. The band’s creation myth (which uncannily mimics Rogue Wave’s) has been well-publicized: lead vocalist Kyle Wilson needed a break from his band, so he went hiking in British Columbia and essentially fell off a mountain, breaking his back and then using his recuperation time to dream up Glowing Mouth.
[a]Milagres[/a] frontman Kyle Wilson left Brooklyn after he felt had “grown stale”, retreating to mountainous wilds in search of creative succour. Sound familiar? His five-piece band’s UK debut retreads more familiar ground than a crime scene reconstruction: opener [b]‘Halfway’[/b] would be a lovely, elegant [a]Coldplay[/a] song, which jars awkwardly into [b]‘Here To Stay’[/b], a half-arsed [a]Arcade Fire[/a]-like look at a youth where “[i]I was the cure, I spoke in tongues[/i]”. The rest hovers lazily between [a]Grizzly Bear[/a]’s dusty orchestral shadow and Menomena’s way with drawing lumps to the throat, yet boasts the emotional potency of neither.
Oooof. This is tough. Milagres are, in many ways, an accomplished band. Talented. Wonderful sounding. Inspiring. Original. And Glowing Mouth is, in many ways, a seriously tasty album. Kyle Wilson’s imagery is dreamy; like he’s a portal for all the good stuff that nature throws together and ….
A polished, well-arranged album that could find a happy home in countless collections. Mike Diver 2012 A debut that’s easy to lose oneself in, Glowing Mouth seems to be an under-the-radar miracle: a fully formed, wholly enjoyable collection that sounds more like a matured fourth effort than an initial attempt at a long-player, such is its instant familiarity. But, of course, first impressions rarely paint a complete picture, and repeat plays reveal that New York five-piece Milagres are, albeit probably accidentally, masterful mimics, their material stirring thoughts of a host of preceding indie-acts-with-big-ideas.