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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Milo Jones
Lifeline (CD)

Somewhat fitting I'm reviewing Milo Jones on Halloween... the man and his warped folk music is one of those who "sounds like a trick" at first but turns out to be quite a treat in the end. The first thing you'll notice is how on all the tracks someone appears to be fiddling with the tuning pegs on his guitar WHILE he's playing because of how wobbly the picking sounds. I mean it could your typical genteel neu-folk a la Iron and Wine if it weren't for the guitar tuning sounding like it's seriously changing a full whole step up and down every so often.

You add to that Jones' cracked pepper throat rumblings that often seem to emanate from the great beyond and this ain't your typical plaintive folk. I think his music reminds me the most of Smog (Bill Callahan), though the songs don't have electric guitar, drums, or for that matter pretty much any other instruments except for that clunking acoustic guitar. I actually think maybe he's bending the notes as he goes but I really swear it sounds like someone's messing with the tuning pegs.

The songs are mostly spare ballads, sung in a slightly drunken style. He has the type of skid row voice where you know he can't possibly be drunk while singing, but then again, how can he possibly NOT be drunk to sing in that manner.

Standouts include the woozy cover of Hazlewood's "Summer Wine" and "Silverfish", in which Milo stretches low creaking and crooning vocals to near infinity. My favorite is the pretty, tinkling title track "Lifeline" with arpeggios that sound almost classical.

Don't expect to be rocking out to any of the tracks; this is music where you may sit a bit mesmerized for a half hour or so before wondering why the Rubix Cube in your hand isn't being solved in record time. The Milo Jones puzzle just refuses to be easily solved.

- review by SHORTY (10.31.05)        

PO Box 382081
Cambridge, MA 02238

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