There isn't much back-story when it comes to the formation of Harvey Milk. A couple of dudes gathered in the oppressive Georgia heat and decided to turn up the volume and experiment with different sounds and textures, much like the Melvins did a decade earlier. They admired Leonard Cohen. At the time of My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be
's release, Buzz Osborne and company were taking a cruise down boring lane, allowing Harvey Milk's unique brand of sludge metal to fill that certain void.
is the most diverse release in their catalog, too; some songs go from achingly quiet to crushing and shift between several disparate sections in just a few minutes. Creston Spiers howls with the best of them, but also includes clean vocals when appropriate. His most affecting performance, "The Anvil Will Fall," is the closest sludge metal will get to having a power ballad. It begins with gentle guitars and melodic bass figures before slipping into a gorgeous, climactic orchestra piece that wouldn't be out of place in a mainstream film soundtrack. When the bare-knuckled slabs of distortion crash in, none of the beauty is lost; Spiers groans with an emotional intensity that he has yet to replicate anywhere else.
The next few tracks are typical Milk material, all awkward silence and thundering drums. They break the mold with "Jim's Polish," which lulls the listener with gently plucked acoustics before a thick layer of curdled milk is thrown on it. Many of the riffs allude to later material, with a much more straightforward and rocking vibe, providing stark contrast to their usual "hold a chord for a minute" strategy, implemented ad nauseam on "F.T.S.P."
In true (sweat-stained) fashion, My Love
ends on a less serious note. "All the Live Long Day," which seems to be loosely based on the original, makes prominent use of cantankerous cowbell that interjects between the rumblings of overly distorted guitars. It closes with obnoxious feedback, making the ending of My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be
something of a relief from the painstaking nature of Harvey Milk's music. Jack Rabid of All Music Guide asked "What is this?" The answer: a smorgasbord of manliness.