The Deaf Institute, Manchester
We spoke with New York band Milagres at the Deaf Institute in Manchester ahead of their show in the evening, discussing the history of the band, and the joys of Travelodges.
The band formed back in 2006 in New York. Singer and guitarist Kyle Wilson explains “We were all playing in different bands in New York and as those bands split up, we came together piecemeal over time. This current line-up was completely solidified until a few months ago. We have a new drummer even from when we were here in January. “
They released debut album ”Seven Summits' in May 2008, with bass player Jordan engineering and mixing the album before joining the band. It hasn't been an easy ride recording and releasing their material as Jordan explains “When you have a day job, it's very difficult to fit it in. You can't just take a week in the studio to record vocals and bang it out.”
The follow-up, Glowing Mouth, was released in the UK in the second week of January on Memphis Industries. To this listener, even that early on, it was an immediate contender for Album of the Year, a piece of work that gives you something new every time you go back to it, almost effortless.
Again though, Kyle says the truth is quite different “it was written over a long period of time and you can hear that's there a major shift. I started writing it in 2009 and finished it in October 2010, we mastered it in January 2011 and in the end it got picked up and released on Kill Rock Stars in the States.”
They're still building an audience in the UK. Kyle continues. “We played to a packed room in London, and it seems that radio stations are playing us. We're a new band, we're an ambitious band but we don't have high expectations. When I say ambitious, I mean creatively than business wise. Whatever the audience for our music is whatever the audience is. We don't have control over that, we just want to make the best records we can and I feel confident we can make really great records. We've already started to write new songs as the record has been out a long time in the States.”
“This is the first time we've been here with an album out. We're coming back to play festivals in August and September. Electric Picnic, Bestival and Wilderness. I think when we do those we might release a radio edit of Glowing Mouth. It remains to be seen if we do other dates when we're back here.”
When asked what inspires them to write, Jordan jokes that staying in Travelodge hotels is the inspiration and the focal point of the next record. Apparently they take turns in taking the sofa bed and the unlucky one gets the lower part, with some strange things being found there in Glasgow. Their favourite is City Road in London.
A Guardian review last year compared them to Coldplay, but to me their musical lineage would put them with Doves and early Elbow. Their response when asked about whether those Manchester stalwarts have influenced them is surprising.
Jordan says “Doves. No. Elbow, yes, sure, but in a more recent inspiring way, I'm not that familiar with their early stuff.”
Keyboard player Fraser adds“We read a lot of people comparing us to them, but we haven't listened to it, so I'd like to sit down and hear it to see what people are saying.”
Live, Milagres make you wonder why they haven't garnered the hype that Local Natives did a couple of years ago and which is now being thrown in the direction of Alabama Shakes. They're tight as you'd expect from a band that's been on the road for a few months, the vocal harmonies are gorgeous and they take the songs off Glowing Mouth to a new level.
The Deaf Institute is nowhere near full, but those there know they're witnessing a very special band. Kyle's voice has a drama and a range to it that draws you in and makes you listen and watching him you feel he's living the songs as he sings them. Keyboard player /guitarist Eric is the most animated, leaping around playing keys, guitar and having a go on drums all in the same song and he has most of the interaction with the crowd between songs.
New drummer Paul is a revelation too. Their set is mainly made up of tracks from Glowing Mouth, but there's a nod to their debut album with Fifty Fourteeners and there's also a new song Quiet Street. There's songs in the set Here To Stay, Halfway, Gentle Beast and Glowing Mouth in particular that more celebrated bands would kill for in their repertoire and which would be filling huge halls if there was any justice in music. I'll take the easy comparison route and promise that if you loved Doves and early Elbow, you'll love Milagres too. If you don't, just give them a listen anyway.
Setlist : Here To Stay, Lost In The Dark, Gone, Gentle Beast, Halfway, For Disposal, Fifty Fourteeners, Quiet Street, To Be Imagined, Glowing Mouth, Fright Of Thee