As I ambled down Oxford St, passing the various music venues turned bars and bars turned music venues, and chuckling to myself at the inebriated skateboarder that seemed to fulfill a public duty with his comedic demeanor, I sung a familiar little ditty to myself.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was or who it was by – it could be a song my mum sung to me when I was a young pup, it could be a remnant of some live music from the night before, it could be a jingle from a commercial. Memory failing me, I gave up on this search through my own dilapidated mind palace and resumed listening to the new Millions album, in preparation for this review. I soon realized that the elusive ditty I was searching for was the opening riff to the 8th track on their newest album, Allure.
Indie four piece Millions have just released their debut album Max Relax, their most mature incarnation yet.
This is probably the most objective way I can illustrate my case that Million’s debut album Max Relax sticks in your mind, and in the best way possible. There was a warm familiarity to my second or third listen of Max Relax that I wish I experienced with more albums; it felt like walking up the steps of the house where I grew up and spent my formative years*.
While the Brisbane four piece are far from the first band to venture into this vast territory we broadly classify as ‘indie pop’, nor will they be the last, Millions stand out in a crowd with a high standard of their own work, the product of which is an intimidatingly well put together debut. The band strives for a more mature sound than their previous releases, forsaking the hype-band-of-the-week market that they could have easily fallen into. Instead, Millions approaches this album with a clear idea of making a record that will outlast genre hysteria and fleeting, vapid infatuation; an album that endures as a genuine product of the band’s own efforts, not industry expectations.
The record covers many influences and styles in a 40-or-so minute timespan. Take for example the second track, Always, which features a vocal hook and sunshower-like piano riff that could have been made during the hype of Beatlemania. Or the hand-clappy Harder Than It Should Be, which hints at it’s central swirling guitar hook in the intro and then waits until the perfect moment to fully indulge the listeners with that wavy progression.
Other standout tracks include Unchained, a down-tempo, spacious melody that showcases the band’s ability to create an illustrious soundscape without a need for vocals, and Agony and Ecstasy which builds up in intensity throughout the song to a impassioned scream-and-shout release of emotions, which proved to be a tremendous climax on this album. Then there’s the album closer, Good Things Never Last. It’s a slow, contemplative arrangement that feels like a marriage between a waltz, an argument and a hangover: comely, painful, and yet deeply cathartic.
With Max Relax, Millions have proven to the world that not only can they write a goddamn album, but they can do it with such confidence and skill that they will prove to be fierce competition, if not a threat, to others in the field. Quite simply, Max Relax is an album full of bright ideas by some bright kids with a bright future.
Max Relax will be officially released on August 15th – preorder via iTunes. The band will be launching the EP with a three date east coast tour throughout August.
*This would be a more emotive comparison if I didn’t still live there.
Thu 21 Aug | Workers Club, Melbourne w/ Jesse Davidson + Snowy Nasdaq
Fri 22 Aug | Black Bear Lodge, Bris w/ Jesse Davidson + The Furrs
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