Milquetoast & Co. are back this summer with Kashmir the Great, an intriguing extended play that takes inspiration from an eclectic, almost Tom Waits-style of rock but firmly asserts the band as one of the most original in all of contemporary indie music. Led by the enigmatic Restless James, the group sounds more in-sync and connected with their medium than ever before in songs like “Lost Coffee,” “Ghosts of the Keynote” and “Tell Me More,” and listeners who had been hoping to hear something as experimental as it is deeply emotive in this latest release from Milquetoast & Co. are going to be especially moved with what the EP has to offer.
“Idiot,” “Lost Coffee” and “No Speak So Good,” which together form the first half of Kashmir the Great, are surreal, difficult to categorize and almost impossible to turn away from once you’ve pressed play on any one of the three tracks. “Tell Me More” and “Ghosts of the Keynote” are an oddly conventional pair of songs that round out the tracklist on a retrospective note, but I think that was exactly what Milquetoast & Co. were going for here – much like the end of a memorable dream, we finish the record feeling as learnt as we do tested by the trials presented to us in James’ evocative poetry.
I absolutely love the sonic depth of this master mix. It essentially affords the string parts in songs like “Tell Me More” and “Lost Coffee” so much more of a presence than they would have had amidst the vocal work of the singer here, allowing for Restless James to cast a spell over us that isn’t easily broken – even after the record is no longer playing. Harmony is the most important component in Kashmir the Great – whether it be broken or inhumanly perfect, it’s the driving force behind all of the magic we hear on this EP.
“No Speak So Good” has an old world elegance that “Ghosts of the Keynote” tries (in a rather distorted fashion) but fails to capture, but the contrast between the two tracks isn’t off-putting at all. By mixing the muscly in with the rustic, Milquetoast & Co. are giving us a full-color look at their style without having to make adjustments to suit a mainstream audience. Most bands would kill to have this kind of diversity in an extended play, and that’s just in the American rock community alone.
If you’ve had the misfortune of never hearing the music of Milquetoast & Co. before now, you need to get your hands on this disc come September 20th. Critics have not been able to stop buzzing over its impending release, and having given it my full attention since first receiving my own copy, it’s hard to deny its addictiveness and relentlessly insightful commentary (most of which, I might add, takes on an even greater meaning after a few uninterrupted listens) even during its more experimental moments. Kashmir the Great is worth its weight in gold, as is the group who produced it for our enjoyment.
by John McCall, posted by Zachary Rush