Robert Millis - The Lonesome High LP
Robert Millis is a man of many talents with a knack for unpredictability to the direction of any given project. Nowadays, he's probably best known as one of the curators for the Sublime Frequencies label and a couple of amazing anthologies of recorded esoterica for Dust To Digital. Yet throughout the '90s and '00s, Millis has co-piloted the Climax Golden Twins – a convoluted project of careening art-rock, swampy folk twang, collaged Victrola recordings and rarified minimalism. The CGT records jump-cut brilliantly from one genre to another with an internal logic designed for cognitive dissonance. It should be no surprise that Millis' solo work persists in confounding expectations. Recently, his live shows have found Millis adopting the role of the beleaguered troubadour. His forgotten murder ballads and rumpled cautionary tales are in stark contrast to the recorded experimental works that detoured into feverish sound-collages and electric hauntings. The Lonesome High collects many of the songs that Millis has been performing over the years, fleshed out in the studio with swaggering arrangements. The balladeering persona of Millis is an effortless one, in which charmed melodies and poignant couplets pop amidst his slack-strummed songs. "The Tortured Butcher" is the closest to a barnstormer, showcasing Millis' quavering baritone falsetto above a mighty fine cow-punk arrangement. The spaciousness of two of Millis' finest numbers "Notes On A Scandal" and "Drowsy Sleeper" allows room for him to weave eerie tones and clouds of dissonance into his cautionary tales. Like the post Sun City Girls work of Alan Bishop, Millis' songs are impish in nature thanks to Millis' wry sense of humor that even seems to be lurking around the corner when Millis is plumbing the poetics of misery. The Lonesome High admirably carves out his identity as a complex songwriter, as yet another illustrious side to his multi-faceted body of work.