Amy Millan
Honey From The Tombs


3.5
great

Review

by handsomerob2 USER (3 Reviews)
September 23rd, 2006 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When many people heard that Amy Millan was releasing a solo album, they thought of a Stars inspired album. Listening to the first few notes of "Losin' You", I'm sure they got a shock hearing country inspired licks coming out of their speakers. Surprisingl

In case you don't know, Amy Millan is the co-singer and co-guitarist of a Canadian indie pop band called Stars. They have been successful, primarily in Canada, but have small fan bases around the world and in the States. Their latest album, Set Yourself On Fire, was, in my opinion, a very solid, enjoyable record. I, myself, am a big fan of Stars, despite only owning Set Yourself On Fire. So when I heard Amy Millan was releasing a solo album, I eagerly awaited the day of its release. Shortly before buying it, I read a couple of underground reviews I found around the Internet and was surprised to read that her album was almost entirely country music. I was also surprised to read that all the songs were very old, written before Amy joined Stars. The few reviews I found were primarily negative. I was shocked to hear this and was turned off the record. A couple of weeks later, I found some more reviews with better results. With this in mind, I decided I'd take my chances and get the record, not knowing what to expect.

The first track on the record is a song called "Losin' You". The country inspirations are apparent from the first few notes. Primarily just guitar and Amy's voice (which is excellent), this song is fairly mediocre, though still charming. It is quite short, like most of the songs on this record. It is effective in its simplicity and sets the mood for the remainder of the record. The bridge before the last chorus is nicely constructed and probably the best part of the song. Next is "Skinny Boy", the single off this record. Personally, I really do enjoy this song. Though the lyrics are kind of cheesy (if not confusing), Amy's voice just makes me forget everything else in this song. Sometimes, Amy really shines in her vocal ability, like on her part in the song "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" on Set Yourself On Fire. This is one of those times. This song adds a full band to back Amy's vocal's and guitar. It is a welcome addition, neither showcasing nor hiding in the back of the mix. This is probably one of my favourite songs on the album, mainly for Amy's voice. "Ruby II" is where the country influence really shows through. A very straight ahead country song, "Ruby II" really didn't impress me. Though there is a couple of cool guitar solos in it, it is too modern country to me, sounding like something off a Dixie Chicks album. Again, the lyrics aren't strong, though Amy does some cool vocal harmonies with her double-tracked voice. This is one of my least favourite tracks on the album.

"Baby I" is the second single off this album and also the only one that currently has a music video. Like "Losin' You", "Baby I" is a fairly mediocre song, though still charming and somewhat catchy. The lyrics are a little better in this one, maybe because they were written by someone else (I have heard that this is actually a cover song). You can really hear the country influence again on the chorus. The music video really doesn't add anything to this song except drag it down. A pretty mediocre song, but not that bad. The next song "Headsfull" is really different from any of the other songs on the album. It is almost punky with its simple power chords and bouncy rhythms. Probably the most indie sounding song on the album, it is also the shortest, which is good as it just gives you enough time for a breath of fresh air. The song is pretty groovy but again really can't be seriously evaluated in terms of musical structure, etc. "Wayward and Parliament" is defiantly the strangest song on this record. A cross between an indie ballad and a progressive/orchestral jam session, it is very interesting to listen to. It is probably one of my favourite songs on the album, though I could see many people being confused with it and not liking it. The lyrics aren't that bad in this song either and are more enjoyable along side the melody. I really liked the contrast between the guitar strummed verses and the percussive middle sections. The trumpets sound distinctly like those on the song "Ný batter*" by Sigur Ros off their album Ágætis Byrjun.

The song that follows goes back to the country music but with a folksy twist. "Hardhearted (Ode to Thoreau)" is like a slowed down version of "Ruby II" with a mandolin and some hangover vocals added. Another of my least favourite tracks, it is also (unfortunately) one of the longest. It's funeral march tempo makes it seem twice as long as it actually is. I mostly ignore this track as it just really bothers me. This song makes "Wayward and Parliament" look even better then it is. "Blue In Yr Eye" is the next song on the album, another country inspired song. Thankfully, this song has a faster tempo. That still does not save it from its square dance rhythm and irking backing vocals. The banjo solo can be pretty cool if you're in the right mood but this is just another annoying country song for me personally. "Come Home Loaded Roadie" is just Amy and an organ, drawing out a mournful ballad. This song is like a bad rendition of the "Wayward and Parliament" formula. At least it's not country, though. The outro has to be the best part, not only because it’s the end of the song. The chorus is kind of nice too, with the lines "It's all wrong while you're gone" repeated twice. Some of the lyrics are quite good on this track. I still find it mediocre, but defiantly bearable.

After this, comes "All The Miles", another country song. Except this time, it isn't so bad. Besides the intro, the song is quite good, especially the verses that showcase Amy's voice. The distorted slide guitar can get pretty annoying. I didn't listen to this song initially because the intro turned me off so much. After you get past it though, the song is probably one of the better songs on the album. The lyrics are pretty recycled, being very similar to many of the other songs. My only complaint about this song is that slide guitar riff. "He Brings Out The Whiskey In Me" is the next song, with quite a self-explanatory title. This is another country song done right, with a ballad like tempo. Though the lyrics are pretty brutal, the simple guitar and melody are effective. I really liked the inclusion of the xylophone as it adds a nice melody and soft accompaniment to the guitar and vocals. My favourite part of this song is around 2:30, where the xylophone gets a little solo that turns into the last chorus. Lastly, there is "Pour Me Up Another", a waltzing ballad with just Amy on the guitar and vocals (and some trumpets), a lot like the opening track. The one difference between the two is that "Pour Me Up Another" is one of the best song on this album, right behind "Wayward And Parliament". Like "Skinny Boy", Amy's voice stands out in this song and is very effective. My favourite part of the song would have to be the trumpet section in the middle and Amy's voice (of course). Luckily, the lyrics are quite good too. It still has that country vibe to it but like the last couple of tracks, it is done very well and with a hint of indie influence.

One thing you can't be if you want to listen to this album properly is judgmental. You have to let your guard down to listen to this and not worry about it how cheesy it is. If you're worried that your friends won't like you because you listened to this, then this isn't the album for you. This isn’t a political essay, it’s just a collection of humbling and enjoyable songs. If you’re up for it, I suggest buying it.


user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
handsomerob2
September 23rd 2006


58 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is my first review, but im not asking anyone to be easy on me.

By the way, Amy Millan is a fox, if i say so myself

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2006


15743 Comments


Excellent first, my good sir. And if she is a fox, I am a Wild Stallion.

/not gay.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

The Jungler
September 23rd 2006


4827 Comments


Wow, you know your stuff. Great job.
I saw Stars at Lollapalooza and they were pretty allright, I haven't checked out any studio work, but I'll be sure too eventually.

And if she is a fox, I am a Wild Stallion.
You must be a really wild stallion.


Electric City
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2006


15743 Comments


Hence the analogy.

mx
Moderator
September 23rd 2006


733 Comments


Reminds me a lot of the Neko Case scenario

handsomerob2
September 25th 2006


58 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

speaking of foxes, I'll be doing my next review on Emily Haines solo record.

hmm, Emily Haines or Amy Millan?...This Message Edited On 09.25.06

MAthiAS
October 9th 2006


54 Comments


Emily Haines both as a musician and a female.



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