Milly – Eternal Ring

A disarmingly impressive debut from LA’s alt rock proteges…

LA based Milly are somewhat of an anomaly. The band, led by songwriter Brendan Dyer, sound frustratingly familiar at times, yet it is very difficult to pinpoint their exact influences. This is in no small part due to the fact they have seemingly taken twenty years worth of some of the finest underground guitar music and distilled it into their debut ‘Eternal Ring’. Revitalising the second and third waves of American emo while embracing guitar tones to rival Billy Corgan at his towering best, the group have made an intimate and evocative stab at presenting what it is like to be young, scared and disillusioned in America circa 2022.

Recent single ‘Marcy’, with its hollow ring of arpeggiated guitars and ‘Nevermind’ cast off chorus, is as close to a perfect alt rock anthem as they come. And in the line “Marcy’s got a brand new brain,” Dyer has a sing-a-long slacker motto for the newly disenfranchised generation. ‘Sedation’, one of the heaviest tracks on the record with its macerating sludge of guitars contains within it one Dyer’s most resonant line. As he sings “Been down again, lift me up” we hear the anxious plea we’ve all made at some point, for someone to rescue us from our darkest days. 

There is a DIY, bedroom studio like quality to ‘Eternal Ring’, much of which comes from Dyer’s close vocal delivery and the scatterings of muted guitar strings and minor mistakes left in to add to the overall effect. The record in general though sounds impossibly huge, and even tracks such as ‘Ring True’ which stray into pop punk territory carry a breezy elegance that shouldn’t be as easily reached as it is here by a band on their debut.

While there are plenty of triumphs throughout ‘Eternity Ring’, its true moment of greatness comes courtesy of the near nine minute colossus ‘Stuck In The Middle’. A post-rock build to a massive guitar solo that makes audacious use of a wah-wah pedal no less, the track sounds like the band arriving exactly where they are meant to be.

On ‘Eternal Ring’, listeners will undoubtedly find their own touchpoints, many of which will be to obscure emo acts instrumental in Dyer’s formative years. While others will hear traces of bigger names such as early Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World and Silversun Pickups. It all becomes slightly irrelevant though when the songs are this strong. 

For Milly, there is more than enough scope here to make you think it’s just the beginning for the band as they continue to hone their sound and make it truly unique. And what a place to start. 


Words: Craig Howieson

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