Harvey Milk
A Small Turn of Human Kindness


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
May 17th, 2010 | 124 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


For those who entered Harvey Milk's discography at Life... The Best Game in Town, and then proceeded to stop immediately, A Small Turn of Human Kindness is going to be one hell of a surprise. Bleaker and slower than its predecessor, A Small Turn is much more of a complete listen, with its seven tracks often bleeding together; the whole album often stops and starts and climaxes like one huge, forty-minute composition. Everything is extremely deliberate and exacting; songs like "I Know This is All My Fault" have no purpose other than to slowly build suspense throughout its entire seven minutes, utilizing Twin Peaks OST-esque synths and slow, brooding riffs to keep the listener on their toes, until "I Did Not Call Out" bursts in abruptly with vocalist Creston Spiers' trademarked ferocious yowl. And that song continues to graphically describe a suicide, with no black humor or self-deprecation thrown in as a fall-back.

As you can tell, then, A Small Turn of Human Kindness is everything Life isn't: focused, concise, serious, etc. This is, more than its critically-acclaimed predecessor, the example of Harvey Milk sifting through its past experimentations and explorations, and using all these unfinished remnants and half-baked ideas to somehow create a defining record. While Life was split unevenly between the many eras of Harvey Milk, A Small Turn instead only takes choice elements from the band's past. Songs like "I Know This is No Place For You" are both brooding and melodic; Creston Spiers' vocals reach the enormous heights of older songs like "Decades", while thankfully shredding the irony and the ridiculousness. "I Alone Got Up and Left" is perhaps the best example of this newfound attitude: it's ferocious and dense and extremely heavy, yet is driven by the cascading melody, which is all-encompassing, especially considering Spiers' roaring vocals, and even a little catchy, in a sing-along-when-drunk-and-depressed kind of way.

A Small Turn of Human Kindness is quite bleak, to the point of being hopeless: its dense production is overwhelming and overpowering; Spiers' vocals also seem especially desperate and longing, his idiosyncratic voice particularly strained and worn. But the album's strangely optimistic ending reveals A Small Turn's true intention: this is an album you can connect your own hopelessness with. It's weirdly relatable, this album, with not really its lyrical content but its various moods, from the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feel of "I Did Not Call Out", from the pensive "I Know This is All My Fault", from the dispirited, desperate "I Just Want to Go Home". And who would've thought all this, from a Harvey Milk album? That little surprise could be, in fact, what makes this album all the better.



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3.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
May 17th 2010


3742 Comments


i hate writing summaries so i've decided not to write any anymore

also album ruleeees i'd wish the album art would work tho

Bulldog
May 17th 2010


3796 Comments


summaries are awesome though.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2010


15036 Comments


i hate writing summaries so i've decided not to write any anymore


same and like the review


harvey milk has always been 'oh ill get to it...'

iBosley
May 17th 2010


268 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

Dryden
May 17th 2010


12928 Comments


gonna check this out

eternium
May 17th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Harvey Milk is like cave man metal. This album is sooooo slow and heavy. Accurate review.

I need to listen to this again, soon.

robin
Emeritus
May 17th 2010


4248 Comments


downlaoded everything by htis band the other day.

then realised i wasnt manly =(

cvlts
May 17th 2010


8956 Comments


band fucking rules.

Photon
May 17th 2010


1292 Comments


ok i have to listen to this band ..which album should i start with?

O.J. Simpson
May 17th 2010


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really liked Life... The Best Game In Town, but this is so much more focused as a whole.

eternium
May 17th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

LIFE IS THE BEST GAME IN TOWN AND DEATH GOES TO THE WINNERRRR.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 17th 2010


20857 Comments


Band sounds depressing.

Cam, why didn't you just put a one-word summary: Bleak.

AtavanHalen
May 17th 2010


17927 Comments


I'm a little wary about this. I didn't like Life at all.

eternium
May 17th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Then perhaps there is something wrong with you.

Dryden
May 17th 2010


12928 Comments


aids prob

AtavanHalen
May 17th 2010


17927 Comments


It does nothing for me. It's just nasty music.

eternium
May 17th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nasty music? Is that a bad thing?

AtavanHalen
May 17th 2010


17927 Comments


In this instance, definitely. It just drones and sludges along through the same notes over and over. Sometimes it's literally painful to listen to.

Dryden
May 17th 2010


12928 Comments


drone and sludge is cool though

eternium
May 17th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Drone and sludge takes getting used to. Harvey Milk makes Neurosis look accessible.



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