Milky Ways - Milky Ways (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Milky Ways

Milky Ways (2006)


You've really got to wonder at which point the low-fi production style goes overboard. Montreal's Milky Ways are phenomenal, but their self-titled debut record was clearly recorded in a tin can at the bottom of the ocean by equipment that it would be kind to call retro. Granted, I like my bands raw and a bit worse for wear, but this always takes me a few songs to really wrap my head around. I was running with a theory that Milky Ways actually sounds cleaner as the record progresses, but a test with the ol' shuffle button disproved that: You just become acclimated.

Milky Ways' roster is culled from a trio of Montreal acts that seem to be namedropped everywhere these days, namely the Spaceshits, Del-Gators and les Sexareenos. The combination results in a noisy garage sound propelled by the relentless beat from drummer Dan Pedro and the psychedelic keyboards of Coco Khan. The approach isn't unlike that of Seattle's Invisible Eyes. Guitarists Oily Chi and Choyce make quite a racket at times, favoring that vintage tinny buzzsaw sound. All members take turns at the mic, and the mix of male and female vocals adds a bit of soul to the band's shambling exterior. Of course, when shooting for that trebly transistor radio sound there's really no need for a bass player, but those few songs that do feature Roy Oden of the Evolutions.

Once you can see through the murk there's so much depth here. "Lecherous Parasite" features a monotone drone fans of the Spits will love coupled with a tuneful little Ramones-style chorus. "Got My Mojo Back" is straight off of Nuggets while "Shattered" kicks the record off with some caustic `77 style punk rock. "Mary Blue" must be backdated to some time in the `50s and the title to closer "Mindmelt" pretty much defines its effect.

This wonderful mess of a record keeps sucking me back in. It's almost off-putting how vintage this sounds and it's definitely not making any fans outside of those already weaned on the style, but damn is it good.