The first thing you notice about The Milk of Human Kindness is the emotional depth and range. The bear masks are off, the naked passions are running free. Like a lost album that’s just been rediscovered in a basement for the first time since 1973, it’s part reflective, campfire-comedown, part rampage of sonic discovery, reveling in energy and motion.
Rather than a rainbow blur, the album’s sounds are distinctive and dynamic. From the carnival-esque whirl of ridiculous melodies, effusive noise, stampeding beats and furiously harmonised vocals of first single Yeti, then veering from insanely loud and aggressive bursts ('Hands First'), to military tattoos, unexpected showers of Indian bells ('Brahminy Kite'), and almost renaissance-style hip-hop laced with blissful piano melodies ('Lord Leopard, Pelican Narrows'), free-spirited musical abandon abounds.
Some parts sound old-fashioned. 'Bees' could be played by weathered bluesmen battling divorce and the taxman. 'Barnowl' (released as an ultra-limited one-sided 12" single) sounds like as blissful a rhapsody as has ever been committed to tape.
Dan sings on five tracks, revealing a vulnerable side on the vocal harmony-led album centrepiece, 'Hello Hammerheads', which finds him getting alone and intimate on acoustic guitar. Laptop who?
Dare we to suggest that The Milk of Human Kindness manages to sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before? Inspired by the fierce MO of musicians like Lightning Bolt, Animal Collective and Kanye West – the noisiest, weirdest bands around, and a 21st century gospel singer – impassioned vitality comes across in music that’s deeply involved, and filled with wide-eyed, joyous emotion.
Black Vinyl includes the album on CD