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And now time for something slightly different. Anyone who pays good attention to the indie scene, then you'll know this band, those who don't will just think they sound like a poor man's Arctic Monkeys...and yes, they are from Sheffield. Either way, this is Milburn with "Well Well Well".
Released on Mercury Records, "Well Well Well" was the band's debut album, released in October of 2006, it showcases a dozen songs that ooze indie rock.
The opening song on the album which happens to be the title track, instantly rings reminiscent of The Clash with the opening guitar riff sounding as if it were taken out of the 'maybe' pile for riffs in 'London Calling'. Once the vocals kick in though you can tell it's a different band, and that's where the next striking similarity kicks in - vocalist Joe Carnell, who shares singing duties with brother Louis, has a eerie similarity to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. Granted, they're both from Sheffield, which can explain it, but until you get settled into the album, you can't help but think this is literally the spin-off from the Arctic Monkey's "Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not" debut album.
Moving through the album, "Send in the Boys" was officially the band's debut single and reached number 22 in the UK Top 40 chart. It's simply a minus-three minutes indie rock song. Calm verses against exciting choruses that builds and builds into a rock crescendo. The question is though, is it good enough to warrant being the album's debut single? Well, with all fairness to the band, going through the album there are several singles strong enough to do so...
"What About Next Time?" sees the Carnell brothers using vocals together in the same way that the Jarman brothers do in the Cribs. Often one is the 'backing' singer, but can be heard clearly in a 'shout and respond' style. "Cheshire Cat Smile" was the album's second single, also making it into the Top 40, and was my first introduction of the band, so I've got a slight bias to say it's one of the best tracks on the album. It barely lasts two minutes, but as all good rock songs do, it doesn't hang about - it kicks the door down, drinks a lot of beer and then leaves by kicking down another door. The melody of the chorus will stand up against numerous other bands of this genre. Where you really interested in downloading one song by these guys to discover more about them, then arguably this would one would be it.
As the album progresses, thankfully the standard doesn't wane and maintains a consistency that belies the overall success of this record. "Storm in a Tea Cup" has a ska-like element to the opening riff that you'd more likely find in a Less Than Jake record than from a band from the steel city. "Last Bus" does ring a familiar Arctic Monkeys bell (Leave Before the Lights Come On), but I think I've exhausted that comparison enough for one day. "What You Could've Won" is the album's longest track at 4 minutes, and does attempt to slowly build the song with longer pre-choruses and an instrumenal section. It works, and arguably the album could be strengthened even further if possible, if a couple more songs took on this structure.
Unfortunately the band split in mid-2008 to pursue various projects, but you pick this album up from the likes of Amazon for less than £5. Do yourself a favour and buy it, and realise that the past few years has seen Sheffield product another decent band other than the Arctic Monkeys.
Milburns debut album is a very catchy and has strong guitar sounds with a steady drum beat. However due to the success of the Artic Monkeys, Milburn fell into their shadow due to the number of comparisons that can be made between these bands. Both originate from Sheffield, both sound pretty similar and both came to prominence around 2006.
This album contains some great songs and all the songs are pretty good, they all have memorable choruses and are pretty easy to get into and enjoy.
It starts off with the title track 'Well Well Well' followed by 'Showroom' and then 'Send In The Boys' all of which are easy to remember and immediately get you hooked on the album.
'What About Next Time?' is the next track on the album and is a bit more melodic than the other album and contains good lyrics such as 'how can the truth become a lie'.
Possibly the best song on the album comes next, 'Lipstick Licking' is a fast paced track and immediately captures your attention. This is then followed by another brilliant song 'Cheshire Cat Smile'.
The final songs on the album are also pretty good and add to the album, overall this album is brilliant and its a shame that they were overshadowed by the Arctic Monkeys. I would recommend this album to most people and think they would really enjoy it.
I would assume, that not many people have heard of Milburn. This is unfortunately due to their unfair labelling by the majority of 'understudy to the Arctic Monkeys' or something similar. Out of Sheffield, the same place the Arcitc Monkeys are from, and close friends with the Monkeys, the labelling has always hurt the success of the four piece Sheffield band. The band consists of youngest member, lead singer and bassist Joe Carnall, brother and rhythm/lead guitar Louis Carnall, rhythm/lead guitarist Tom Rowley, and drummer Joe Green.
This album is fantastic. The first thing that you hear is the strong bold introduction to the album, track 'Well Well Well'. The album continues to grow in strength with big tracks such as 'Send In the Boys' and 'Stockholm Syndrome'. The songs have so much energy. The songs all tell a story of some sort, usually relating back to the band and their experieneces. I find this a great incentive in music writing and it gives the listener a real feeling of involvement, like listening to something important someone is telling you.
The tracks are full of a majority of loud fast bold guitar riffs with strong drums and the lead singers recognisable strong sheffield accent taking you by the helm. Sometimes labelled as an album for the male contingent, I would say that this labelling is fairly true. The music is bold and loud guitar music, but of course there is nothing stopping girls from enjoying it. It is just an stereotype. It just feels like it is filled with male testosterone, but this is a good thing.
The guitar work in all the songs is fantastic, with some great riffs which grow on you with every listen. The album is a grower in my opinion. The first time I heard it is was good, good enough to make me listen again (when of course I had no reason to, seeing as they have been passed off as not as good as the Monkeys) but it grew on me with every single listen. It grew on me to the point that I actually rate them higher than the monkeys.
Are the comparisons with the Monkeys fair? Well, there is definitely a similarity in the music, but that is maybe to be expected when you consider they both grew up in the same era and are from the same City. To call them understudies I find very unfair. On its own merit this album holds up very well, and is a firm favourite of mine.
A fairly typical first album in the sense that it is a rough around the edges, loud and in your face album. But this works fantastically in the bands favour.
The follow up album to this is called 'These Are The Facts' and has a much more mature approach, I hope to review it if it appears on here!
For now though, this album is definitely worth the time and money spent on it.
It would seem that 2006 will go down as the year the Arctic Monkeys broke onto the British music scene. While the Monkeys were taking the charts by storm, another band from Sheffield, friends of the Arctic's were also starting to make a name for themselves. In fact Milburn were doing it in much the same way, with word of mouth spreading around the internet and thousands of people downloading the bands songs. The likes of the NME slowly started to pick up on the buzz around Milburn and while they were still promoting the Arctic's without remorse, Milburn released there debut album, Well Well Well.
They are part of the vibrant Sheffield scene and the debut album came after 5 years of hard work. They had formed in 2001 when they were just 14 years old and played a number of gigs for their mates in drummer, Joe Green's, house. There are a number of rumours doing the rounds on the internet that Green had infact taught the Arctic Monkeys drummer how to play. Whether these rumours are true or not is anyone's guess but the two bands seem to be quite good friends. It's strange therefore that it seems both bands broke onto the scene in the same year, meaning that Milburn seemed to slip under the radar slightly.
This debut album was finally released in October last year after a bit of time in a studio in Surrey with producers Dave Eringa and James Barber. The fact that Eringa has worked on just about every Manic Street Preachers album, shows the level of quality Milburn were looking for. While this album took a while to reach the shelves you can tell by the finished product that they had been working on it and perfecting it for quite a while. The Arctic Monkeys success came quickly, but it seems that Milburn have gone for a slower, more deliberate route to the top.
While there are the inevitable comparisons between Milburn and their friends in the Arctic's, I actually feel that they are more accomplished musically. The album has a bit of an Indie/Brit pop feel to it that really seems to fit the bands image very well. From the albums opening chords you can see the band have talent with a lot of long guitar riffs that really immerse you in the album. The drums provide an excellent backing for the guitars and bass, but this album is all about the guitar driven Indie sound that seems to be very much in a revival.
On first listen I wouldn't say the songs were as catchy ass those of their City mates but the whole album is very much a grower. There are certain tracks I loved from the start with the likes of "Send In The Boys" and "Cheshire Cat Smile" really standing out. The guitars on all the tracks are quite fast paced and it gives the album a nice tempo that doesn't really let up till the very last track. EWven then I would say that "Roll Out The Barrel" is a nice and relaxed way to end the album.
In lead singers Joe and Louis Carnell the band have quite a distinctive sound. The vocals don't seem to have too strong a Sheffield twang to them and while this adds to the appeal of the Arctic Monkeys it may not have worked so well for Milburn. The combination of good lyrics and quite easy going vocals really adds a bit of character to Milburn's tracks. The combination of good writing and decent vocals mean that for me, Milburn are slightly ahead and dare I say it better than their friends from the Steel City.
For my own personal tastes there isn't a track on this album that I don't actually like. From the start of the album, throughout its 37 minute run time I find it easy and more importantly enjoyable to listen to. I would say the more I listen to it, and I do listen to it a lot, that my favourite tracks seem to change on almost a weekly basis. At the moment I would have to say that "What About Next Time?" is really the track that stands out for me. While the rhythm may sound a little simplistic the sentiment and message behind the track really seems to touch me. The guitars really drive the song along backed with the drums and give it the impression of an upbeat track, whilst really being quite relaxing and easy going.
Overall this is a very good album and although they will have slipped past most peoples attention they have gradually built up a decent following over the last few years. For fans of bands like the Arctic Monkeys, early Ordinary Boys and Maximo Park I would certainly recommend Milburn without hesitation. The Sheffield music scene has already given us a few decent bands over the last year and look out for another coming soon, Little Man Tate. For now however why not take a chance and try out the one, that for me anyway, are the best so far.
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Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Well Well Well
3 Send in the Boys
4 What About Next Time?
5 Lipstick Licking
6 Cheshire Cat Smile
7 Stockholm Syndrome
8 Storm In A Teacup
9 Last Bus
11 What You Could've Won
12 Roll Out The Barrel