The Black Table
Column Of Streetlight
Details Violent Light
If the last album (Glowing Mouth) from Brooklyn brooders Milagres was an essay on human frailty, composed in a haze of Vicodin from a hospital bed after a climbing accident left lead vocalist Kyle Wilson incapacitated for months, the follow-up is about living life – a brave, bold fuck-you to mortality that seeps sex from its pores and dazzles in its gossamer alt-pop. “We could take a trip into a new country,” he teases on Urban Eunuchs, but forget that. The only record you’ll hear this year (or any other) to borrow from both Heroes-era Bowie and Southern rap hooligan Waka Flocka Flame (“I love the way his rhythm tracks just prattle on and on without repeating themselves, somehow never sounding overcomplicated” says Wilson), this new full-length release from the band sounds like a trip into another universe, full of trippy analogue synths, manipulated samples, punchy distorted guitars and heavy brass orchestrations.
Painstakingly honest, Violent Light finds Wilson wading through his psyche for song matter. “Yesterday my therapist asked if she could hear the music I’ve been working on,” he says. “I’m pretty scared to play her this record because I’m sure there’s some subconscious stuff in there that I really don’t want to confront.” From the haunting The Black Table, sparked by a flash memory of his grandfather explaining the destructive power of modern science to him as a child (“we had made plans to see the excellent Arnold Schwarzenegger film Kindergarten Cop one day when he got into an explanation of nuclear fission, drawing diagrams on napkins and going into great detail. We missed the film”) to Jeweled Cave’s recollections of a childhood romance with a male friend (“it wasn’t a sexual relationship, but I don’t think you could describe it as anything other than being in love” ), there are few more personal, confessional listens to be had in 2014.
Now a four piece, Milagres – completed by producer and bass player Fraser McCulloch, keyboard player Chris Brazee and drummer Paul Payabyab – sound destined for stardom. Till then, Wilson, like all great musicians before their breakthrough, is living a humble existence in his adopted home of Brooklyn. “I work as a waiter in a Michelin star restaurant. I once waited on Lou Reed’s birthday party. David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Julian Schnabel and Salman Rushdie were all at the table. I was a little bummed that I wasn’t meeting these people in another context,” he says.
Should the progressive, forward thinking and life-affirming Violent Light find the acclaim it deserves, Wilson could get that opportunity yet.