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Monday, May 24, 2010

Milagres - Live Bell House May 13th, 2010

Sharon Van Etten recommended that I check out Brooklyn’s Milagres. The band had recently changed their name from The Secret Life Of Sofia to Milagres after gaining quite a buzz with the former moniker. I quickly investigated their tunes on MySpace and was pleased enough with what I heard to check them out live. They were playing on a bill in my neighborhood at the Bell House.

When Milagres’s set began, I noticed the band’s sound had a deep sleepiness to the music with its ethereal guitars and calm vocals, but had a dynamic and contrasting upbeat sound to it with driving bass and drums. The songs ranged from engaging folk to delicate, well-orchestrated indie rock tunes.

Frontman/singer/guitarist Kyle Wilson’s voice sometimes reminded me of Chris Martin meets Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear, but other times he had a haunting uniqueness to his voice I couldn’t quite place. Kyle’s guitar had a Walkmen and And Also The Trees shrilling and fluttering sound (probably no one here is old enough to get this reference).

Members of the five-piece contributed more than the average band mates. The guitar player, Eric Schwortz, added some nice, almost keyboard-like, textures to the songs and also had a mini-drum set up behind him and would play added percussion and drum parts as well as lend his voice for harmonies. The bass player, Fraser McCulloch, was quite interesting in the way he moved, like he should be in a more rocking band. Besides his Ian Curtis stage presence, his bass lines were extremely sticky. He played each note with such brevity that it really hooked the grooves. He also lent his voice to the band’s harmonies, which were as nicely executed as Grizzly Bear’s. The drummer, Steven Leventhal, played a mini xylophone on the intro of one tune and gave the band’s sound lots of dynamics by knowing when to play and when not to play. Chris Brazee added some nice keys with a keyboard bigger than himself. The band was great live. Their song “Moose Collision” really stood out with a drumbeat similar to The Cure’s “Close To Me,” but it’s a much more beautiful and heavy song with a lot of great dynamics. The song swelled into sparse and dreamy, almost IDM-esque, parts (think Müm) with xylophones and chimes, and then went back into a more solid song structure before taking a breath again to showcase the band’s luscious harmonies. I also really enjoyed their tune “Lost In The Dark” and one titled “Snow Room.”

So check them out. I was impressed enough to ask them to perform at our next showcase. Thanks for the tip, Sharon!

Milagres’s debut album, titled Seven Summits, will be released online on May 25th.

Milagres "Outside".Mp3

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