A four year old Mac might not quite hold the same romance as Abbey Road, but it has more technology than the Beatles and Pink Floyd had access to. Adam Holmes has taken that technology and squeezed every last drop out of it to produce his third album with The Embers. Holmes' wish for the album was that it would leave the listener just as satisfied, complete and free of wanting as it made him.
If you were expecting this bedroom-made album to be a simple and austere recording, you are in for a real surprise. There are enough instruments on display to fill a dozen albums, and not one, but two choirs (though the children's choir couldn't fit in his flat so was an external recording). Folk, reggae, hip hop, blues, soul and gospel influences are all very evident throughout. When Will I Be Free is a perfect start to Midnight Milk, starting slowly and ramping up beautifully, like the musical equivalent of a sunrise. It may not be the first fusion of rap and gospel, but this will leave you with a guaranteed smile on your face and a warm feeling inside.
That warm feeling does not fade with the rest of the album. Safe In Her Love in particular is a wonderfully uplifting piece of music, as is Lay My Trouble Down, with its melodies and soaring lyrics. No Man Is An Island is the first single from the album, and it has a gloriously upbeat calypso rhythm. Upbeat, uplifting, inspiring… these are words you could use for almost any song on Midnight Milk, and every one of them are highlights. Strange Weather is worth picking out as a particularly strong track on a very strong album, with its faster beat and a bit more emphasis on Holmes' vocal talents.
With Midnight Milk, Holmes wanted to capture the moments where we feel full, complete and calm, and that such moments are rare, precious and to be celebrated. That's quite the mission statement, but this album left me as satisfied as any banquet. If this music be the food of love, I'm definitely staying for dessert.
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