AMILLIONSONS - The
First One's Free (Shiva Records, 2005)
Review by Christine
recently released their debut full-length on the Shiva label. In
addition to The First One's Free, this year the label has
released albums by Neon Heights and Fug, alumni of the Glasgow Underground
and Nuphonic labels respectively. Amillionsons' album--a bit of
primarily downtempo, with tracks ranging from the hauntingly beautiful
"Need You Tonight" to the Tommy Guerrero-esque moody funk
of "Moonlounger." There's also the unreservedly fun-loving,
uptempo "Stay Off the Dope," a jaunty number that samples
the theme music from The Simpsons; the electro-tinged "Outta
My Head"; and a short interlude named "Compulsory Jazz
Track." Bridging the downtempo and humorous tendencies is "Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck,"
a catchy track that repeatedly spells out "F-U-C-K" over
a keyboard hook and a coy female spoken sample. "My Love"
similarly marries the serious and the silly, pairing ridiculous
personals-ad-style introductions with a reading of Lord Byron's
"When We Two Parted."
A highlight of the album
is the gently plaintive "Need You Tonight," whose exquisite
female vocals recall the sweetness of dZihan & Kamien tracks
like "Drophere" or "Thrill." Complementing the
vocals here and in the album-opening "Misti Blu" (a reworking
of soul singer Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue") are four
songs featuring Andy Juan, whose soulful but slightly rough-edged
voice recalls that of Ikon collaborator and Jalapeno solo artist
Ian Britt. Among these is the single "Summer Song," which
features a slow shuffle beat buoyed by strings. The real standout,
however, is the sublime album-concluding "No Encore,"
a ten-minute-long track exploring finality. With The First One's
Free, Amillionsons have assembled an unlikely but appealing
mix of the quirky and the achingly evocative.