Better Off - Milk (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Better Off

Milk (2015)

Equal Vision

Nashville's Better Off have a presence that feels similar to quite a few others out there in the market at the moment. Their music fits in with the driving alternative-rock aspect of modern bands such as Daisyhead, Balance and Composure and a few other veterans I'll mention later. What they end up with is a mainstream, highly accessible style that still defies a lot of cookie-cutter stuff bands in their realm are putting out. Milk is a more comprehensive follow-up to their past body and feels fleshed out as a band that's wiser and mature. It's better-written, which is no surprise given the effort they've been putting in since.

The first half of the record lies to the light-tempo side of things with songs like "Dresser Drawer" and "Suicide Island" nodding to the likes of Have Mercy and Elder Brother. They stay consistent to (I Think) I'm Leaving which is what first caught my eyes with these guys. They've got a clean style but it's when they dirty things up with gang vocals and throw in sub-genres such as punk, grunge and sludge that they really impress. This comes out on tracks like "Interlude" and "Whatever I Don't Care" -- the latter being one of the best songs I've heard this year. Better Off pay just tribute without coming off too carbon copy to anyone and that's what makes them tick.

The second half of the record lies in these rougher areas where the band cut loose a lot. "A Lesson In Loving" is one of their Jimmy Eat World acoustic ballads that does well to offer some breathing room later on but then they kick up a gear on "Bella Disorder", which hints at Brand New as more than a muse. All in all, there's a lot to Milk that you've heard before but this time, it's from a band that steps up technically and feels like something that's about to get bigger. Improvements? Sure. There's some filler up top that leaves the record a bit back-loaded but overall, Better Off accomplish what they set out to do. Great introduction point.