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MiLkBaby: BottLe

BottLe marks a significant turning point for MiLkBaby, the trippy Chicago-based progressive trio that plays fully improvised live shows. For one, it's easily the most accessible album in the group's decade-long history. And it also marks the first collaboration between founding multi-instrumentalist Barry Bennett, bassist/guitarist Darren Shepherd and his singing girlfriend/accordion player Sophie Senard in the wake of the departure of Tracee Westmoreland and David Lee Smith who changed continents in 2001.

The result? More than 66 minutes of cacophonic, percussion-punctuated music that conjures mangled and bloody sonic images of vintage Peter Gabriel, beginning with the global paranoia of "Up on the Television" and extending to "Sneaky Stevie," with its distorted guitars, hypnotic beats, fluttery vocals and electronic chaos that sound like the mix tape for a science experiment gone horribly awry. There's even some male death-metal grunts in "Bored." "Radiation Flowing" is a more subdued piece complete with atonal chanting and augmented by jarring and repeated sounds of breaking glass a bottLe being smashed, perhaps? The 11-minute "More Than I Am" emerges as the album's most haunting piece, with Senard's mournful, digitized voice singing over a somber Gabriel-esque rhythm, "Tell the Moon" sounds like a bunch of sheep and goats being herded by stoned shepherds, and the 12-minute finale "Greater Than Two" (apparently a parent's ode to a young daughter) is alternately bittersweet and terrifying.

Former MiLkBabies Westmoreland and Smith make guest appearances here, but it is clear that Bennett is the one spinning this bottle and taking MiLkBaby in commendable new directions. You can't help but clap your hands and shake your ass.

Track Listing:
1) Up on the Television
2) Bored
3) Sneaky Stevie
4) Radiation Flowing
5) Our Autumnal Fire
6) More Than I Am
7) Tell the Moon
8) Greater Than Two

Added: May 31st 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Uvulittle Records
Hits: 1998
Language: english

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