Review: The Mill – Relative Absolute

Belfast’s The Mill have taken a relatively short time between their EP from earlier in the year and this first album. Part of the reason is probably because all the songs from ‘Meno Forms’ appear on ‘Relative Absolute’ as well. No matter, it’s still a decent record which is a throwback to psych/hard rock times of the 1970’s as well as the British indie movement of the late 1980’s. The six new songs also show pointers to the future.

The album can be split into two halves; one ugly and guttural, the other dreamy and melodic. Murky guitars dominate ‘Bound’ and ‘Heard Her Call’ is downright nasty-sounding. On the more positive side, ‘As Stone’ is languid and summery; Cullen developing a soothing vocal which he carries off surprisingly well.

Of the new songs, ‘On We Run’ rattles along very nicely whilst ‘Let It Out’ and ‘Weight On My Mind’ are further fine example of mature songwriting. Better still is the subtlety and warmth of ‘Own’; the song retaining its psychedelic imprint but still managing to be both tender and moving.

‘Relative Absolute’ is a record to divide opinions, not of least which my own. Sometimes I was drawn into its hypnotic, disarmingly pretty guitar textures whereas on others I was reminded of a bunch of hoary old rockers. However, it’s undoubtedly a very serious set of songs built on the solid foundations set by equally serious and well-respected bands from the past.

Web Sites:
The Mill Official Site
The Mill MySpace

Further Listening:
The Doors, The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses

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