Honey from the Tombs
(Arts & Crafts)
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2006, Volume 13, #8
Written by John Metzger
Coming in the wake of Starsí dramatic Set Yourself on Fire, Amy Millanís solo debut Honey from the Tombs canít help but to feel a little disappointing. Not only do most of her alcohol-soaked lyrics ruminate about relationships in a fairly typical fashion, but the music also darts unimaginatively between the lush atmospherics of indie-pop and the stripped-bare fragility of bluegrass, country, and folk. In short, thereís nothing new to be found on the set, though thatís due, at least in part, to the fact that all of its material was composed during her formative years. In effect, Honey from the Tombs merely fills in the gaps between her days spent sharing a room with Crazy Stringsí Dan and Jenny Whiteley and her current gigs with Stars and Broken Social Scene. Adorned with acoustic guitars, banjo, dobro, and mandolin, the roots-oriented tracks mostly drift by like pleasantly unassuming afterthoughts, while the indie-pop selections hold all of the murkiness that one might expect. Nevertheless, tucked into its crevices are a few flashes of brilliance, and what works and what doesnít has more to do with the aching vulnerability lurking within Millanís vocals than it does with whatever style she happens to be exploring. She fills Skinny Boy with an air of sad, sensual longing, and she beautifully conveys the brokenhearted resignation of the Kris Kristofferson-esque Losiní You. Elsewhere, Come Home Loaded Roadie is steeped in loneliness, and on Hard Hearted (Ode to Thoreau), she turns devastation into strength as her backing band pays tribute to both Man of Constant Sorrow and Drifting Too Far from the Shore. In the end, Honey from the Tombs doesnít contain enough highlights to be of interest to anyone who hasnít already fallen under Millanís spell, but for those who have, it does manage rather intriguingly to connect the dots between her past and her present.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box