Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Record label: Kill Rock Stars
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
When Brooklyn's Milagres first appeared in 2008, it was with the semi-acoustic and largely atmospheric mountaineering-themed album Seven Summits, which they recorded under the name the Secret Life of Sophia. One debilitating climbing accident, a name-change, and an inspired second album later, frontman Kyle Wilson and his bandmates are back with the glowing synth bombast of Violent Light. Continuing to mine his personal mythology, much of the album was inspired by Wilson's childhood trips to the deserts of New Mexico and his grandfather's involvement with the Manhattan Project and the development of the hydrogen bomb.
If I had to pick one word to sum up Violent Light, the second album from Brooklyn quartet Milagres, it would be pretty. Every song on the album is pretty. The floating synths, propulsive rhythm section and singer Kyle Wilson’s otherworldly falsetto attack the brain’s pleasure center without mercy. Listening to the record is the aural equivalent of dipping your nose into a bouquet of fresh roses.
Milagres vocalist Kyle Wilson works as a waiter in a Michelin-starred restaurant, where he once waited on Lou Reed’s birthday party; 'David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Julian Schnabel and Salman Rushdie were all at the table. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t meeting these people in another context.' Perhaps this is what inspired a more ambitious effort from Milagres second time around. Where debut album Glowing Mouth spoke of human frailty as a result of Wilson being bedridden for months following a climbing accident, Violent Light is optimistic.
While Milagres’ 2011 debut, Glowing Mouth was plagued by conventional attempts at Coldplay-esque arena anthems and sleepy, Grizzy Bear-soundalikes, the Brooklyn quartet sound inspired and predominantly original on their intoxicating new album, Violent Light. Frontman Kyle Wilson, who was hospitalized while writing the songs that comprised their initial offering, is reinvigorated this time out, and the buoyant, imaginative new songs take on his enlivened spirit, while not being burdened – at least musically – by the darker undertones of their earlier work. There are still plenty of obvious influences and inspirations that course through much of Violent Light, but the material itself continually sounds fresh and quite vital.