Hollywood on my toothpaste, huh? I was a little bit skeptical about Angel Milk mostly because I actually never enjoyed Genetic World as other people seemed to enjoy. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not biased towards records of the same artists I’ve enjoyed in the past… Alright, I’m completely biased, I admit that, and that’s pretty much all the reasons behind my initial rejection for Angel Milk.
This album has nothing particularly striking at the beginning, and it is a nice surprise when a few songs later it finally starts to reveal its secrets. The process is not seamless though, as sometimes you can’t help think that the transition between the different musical directions this has is sometimes not blended that smoothly.
All of the above can be easily forgiven when you finally discover how truly amazing this french trio is. The line between mundane and ordinary gets often blurred with magic and sublime here, and while I would have hoped for more in the lines of the later, those brief moments of clarity are just enough to regard this album in a special place for a while. Maybe I’m being a little bit too harsh with this, as I’m absolutely convinced that someone with better understanding of all the genres and influences involved here will say otherwise.
For the most part, is the electronic influence the real winner here, and Into Everything is probably the most recognizable song from this album, and based on that, I was left a bit on shock with songs like Love’s Almighty, that fuses downtempo with some more cabaret style instrumentation. However, the best and more elaborate moments are when you approach the trip hop influenced areas of this album, which has plenty, and a not so common trait is how easily it goes from melodic (nearly mellow at moments) to some more darker, grim tunes, as most albums focus on one or the other, not both.
A more common practice among electronic artists is to use guests for their vocal work, and Télépopmusik with Angel Milk is not the exception. What I found interesting though, is that this album features two completely different vocal styles: Angela McCluskey and Deborah Anderson, and that is like attempting to mix water and oil in the same glass in my book, but the result was a lot less dramatic than I expected to be honest. McCluskey gives that elegant and distinctive touch to Don’t Look Back, Love’s Almighty, Nothing’s Burning and the surprising Brighton Beach. Anderson on the other hand is the voice behind Stop Running Away, Into Everything and Close, and unlike McCluskey, she provides a more fragile and melodic work.
What I like about Angel Milk is how evident the transition from the more electronic driven Genetic World is. Not only the sound evolved, the options here are broader too. Obviously the focus on this album is not on the lyrics, but still there is some interesting questions and statements spread through, such as Close for the mental dilemma of a separation, or Hollywood On My Toothpaste for another kind of statement, just to name a few examples.
One last warning: Angel Milk comes with a trick. It appears easy and accessible at first, and then you hit a wall. You can just stand up and start walking somewhere else, or you can try to see what is on the other side. I can’t guarantee that you will see the same things I’ve seen, but it might as well be well worth the try…