Simply magical. I love it when a record comes out of nowhere and makes you crumple into a fetal heap in front of the stereo. Milkweeds is the kind of record I’m not supposed to like anymore, you know, all acoustic guitars and heartbroken lyrics. I cast a suspicious eye to this well-tread genre. You see, what Milksop Holly do is by no means new, but they do it sooooo well that I am completely captivated. Milksop Holly create small, vulnerable songs from the barest musical elements — Mara Flynn’s voice and sparse guitar work.
Milksop Holly consists of the aforementioned Mara Flynn (never heard of her before, but she’s obviously brilliant) and Shimmy-Disc impresario Kramer. Point One: Mara Flynn is soon going to be the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue, or I’m burning all of my records. Point Two: Since my prior experiences with Kramer were Bongwater and Captain Howdy, I was amazed by his understated and tasteful work on Milkweeds . Point Three: Milksop Holly deal in the kind of quiet elegance that Low evoked when they covered Joy Division’s “Transmission.”
The formula works! Every chord is strummed slowly and thoughtfully, every word carefully enunciated, and not a single lyric makes me cringe. Ms. Flynn knows of what she speaks. The first song, “Xmas,” is perfect, yet the rest of the album keeps the “Repeat” button temptation at bay.
Milkweeds makes me wish I was in high school again, so I could wear this record out. Folk music, all is forgiven.
Shimmy Disc, 74 Leonard St., New York, NY 10013