I don’t mean to sound closed-minded or anything, but post-hardcore is an American thing. Just look at the track record. Shellac is from Chicago. Fugazi is from D.C. Helmet is from New York. And Drive Like Jehu, should they be included by purists, are from San Diego. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered a British band attempting post-hardcore. The band in question is YourCodeNameIs: Milo, a new fivesome from the UK with some meaty guitar chops, a singer with a fierce wail and pure, unfiltered adrenaline. But the real question is: can they pull it off?
You bet they can!
First off, it should be noted that their debut EP, All Roads to Fault, was produced by Steve Albini, so it’s probably going to seem like they were nudged into the direction of loud guitars and tight drums. But let’s face it, when Albini’s producing, he doesn’t make bands sound like Shellac, he just makes them sound good. That said, YourCodeNameIs: Milo could have made a record as good as All Roads to Fault without Mr. Shellac, though having that name on your album certainly doesn’t hurt in the cred department.
Lead singer Paul lets loose right away on opening track “All Roads to Fault,” screaming with such a fierce delivery, it’s hardly plausible that the band hails from stuffy old England. It almost approaches alt-metal, but the chorus turns into emo territory, with a chorus that could have been lifted from Jimmy Eat World or Sunny Day Real Estate. But before you start calling them “screamo,” keep reading, `cause that ain’t what this band is about. “The Problem” and “Iron Chef” follow, with sharp guitar interplay that recall one of my favorite bands from San Diego, No Knife. In fact, a great number of YourCodeNameIs: Milo’s songs share similarities to that band, particularly in terms of their guitar acrobatics. But Milo seems to differ greatly in the vocals department as Paul enjoys screaming much more than Mitch Wilson ever did.
“First Mater Responds” isn’t a single, as far as I know, but it’s by far the catchiest and most anthemic track on the record. It might even be good enough to carry over into the full-length, but we’ll just have to wait and see. “Fourthree” is the power ballad of the album, though one played by a band that prefers mathematically complex rhythms and bone liquefying intensity. So, for a ballad, it’s pretty kick-ass. The closer, “Rob the Hed” is a lengthy track, but encompasses all of the greatness of the six tracks leading up to it. It’s heavy, it’s intelligent and it rocks. Good enough for me!
YourCodeNameIs: Milo have taken on an American genre and challenged the notion that emo or post-hardcore should only be tackled by the Yanks. And considering Jesus Lizard, Jawbox, Drive Like Jehu and many other similar groups from back in the day aren’t around anymore, we could really use a band like this right now.
No Knife – Hit Man Dreams
Shellac – Terraform
McLusky – The Difference Between You and Me Is I’m Not On Fire
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.