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Mills - Monochrome (2018) - Review

Band: Mills
Album title: Monochrome
Release date: 16 February 2018
Label: Echozone

01. Train To Berlin
02. A Little More
03. Lost
04. Neon
05. New World
06. Wish
07. Edge
08. Border

Even though that this Austrian band exists since 1994 I'm ashamed to admit that this is my first encounter with their music. Of course, don't confuse this band with French dark alternative female fronted rockers Mils, the difference is in two "L" in their name, even bigger difference is in the style. In the promo-sheet it's written that Mills have worked their way through various stages of development and went through many line-up changes. Today the line-up consists of the two founding members, Alexander Steiner (guitar, keys) and Walter Glatz (vocals, keys) who also perform as a duo live on stage. I don't even know what they released so far, but what we got with their latest effort called Monochrome is pretty satisfying.

The first time that I was listening to this album was while driving the car through the city and I don't know how to tell you right, but this was one hell of a difficult experience, this emotionally charged music is so very filled with kind of sadness, nostalgia and melancholy that it's hard to hold the tears back on some of the songs. Ok, on Monochrome, which consists of eight songs, Alexander and Walter blend smoothly together dark pop sensibility with synth pop, new wave, dark electro, darkwave, post-punk and some goth rock, in a way it flows pretty close to the waters where we can find Depeche Mode's Songs Of Faith And Devotion, but this is a bit darker and feels like if being mixed with some of the most sensible David Bowie, Silke Bischoff, 18 Summers and The Mission, yet on some segments it sounds pretty similar to some newer acts, like are Swedish gothic electro rockers Brotherhood, German darkwave act Golden Apes or even to their country mates Radio DCS. The music of Mills is mostly influenced by the retro dark sounds of 80s and 90s, but the two managed to make it with some additional twists quite fresh and contemporary.

Most of the songs, but especially the opener named "Train To Berlin" are filled with some sort of nostalgia and takes the listener with ease into some sort of a sonic world that unveils more and more of its secrets with every consequent listen. The whole thing is pretty misty, it feels urban, with dramatic lyrics dealing with thoughtful matters in a pretty intriguing poetical way, they sing about relations, love, sadness, human feelings and similar things, it's pretty easy to find yourself in some of the words. Musically Monochrome it's not a demanding album, but it has a lot of depth and it's best to listen to it when the mood is right, yes, this is not some sort of a party music.

The songs are mostly catchy, throughout melodic, with echoing sparkly and here and there a bit more hard guitar riffs. Some sort of a slight heaviness is achived also with reverberate bass lines and deep beats. Smooth rather danceable beats and popy rhythms will penetrate your mind with ease, yet the songs are filled with hypnotizing refrains and absolutely captivating segments. Otherwise, the dominant sound of synths and various electronic samples creates mesmerizing gloomy soundscapes, but what stands out is the addictive velvety melancholic voice of Walter that leads you through the songs. Sometimes minimalistic, other times a bit more upbeat, but always keeping the right pace without exagerating into one or another way. The songs like is the driving "Lost", quite heavy post goth rock of "New World", mesmerizingly melancholic "Edge" and the dark sadness of the closing a bit post rock smelling "Border" have all that addictive thing implemented that will make them stuck in your head for a long time.

Mills did a stunning album, it has depth, warmth and highly addictive compositions that will take you with ease into the misty urban sorroundings of the time from 30 years ago. It shines because of a very well produced atmospheric soundscapes and nicely composed pieces that are running smoothly from start until the end. We can't talk about some artistical superlatives or originality here, but what we get is pretty satisfying music and in the end that's what really matters. Monochrome is as well one of the most emotional albums that I had a chance to listen lately and it's absolutely one of those albums with high replay value. Monochrome proverbially floats and takes the listener into a dark and dreamy world full of audio-visual shades of grey. With every repeated listening, the album reveals new facets of emotional depths which boils the duo's musical goal down to an essence.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10