Afropunk band Millsted make a career-defining record in Harlem
After some bumps in the road, Millsted, a noise-punk band from Brooklyn, have hit their hardcore stride with this year’s Harlem.
Vocalist Kevin Uffre is at full throttle here, and his manic shredding is matched by Pete Belloli's jackhammer drums, which drill tightly through each song. Uffre comes down from the clouds once in a while to bring inspired lyrics, while bassist Samuel Fernandez underscores each beat and bend in the road. The work from guitarists Christopher Carambot and Robert Dume is more varied and finessed than what you would expect from a hardcore punk band.
Most songs on Harlem are blissfully brief; having more would be overkill for the power that explodes from each track. Millsted realizes that delicate but all-important distinction and captures the moment.
The exception here is "Seafoam Lovers." At an unheard-of nine minutes for a punk song, it's a quiet, psychedelic odyssey drifting up from some dark underworld.
Millsted can also conjure the wackiness of Dead Kennedys, as on "Televangelist," where Uffre sounds eerily like Jello Biafra.
The single "Coyote," with its anthem bark, is one of the band's harder songs and belies the melodies that lurk just underneath.
Like its namesake neighborhood, there's depth to Harlem, history and mystery, the busy rhythm of the street, qualifying Millsted’s new collection as an inviting, crossover hardcore record. Millsted prove to be pioneers in this regard, artists who refuse to be filed behind a genre. This will be the key to their future.
- Album: Harlem
- Artist: Millsted
- Label: None
- Songs: (1) Perfume (2) Coyote! (3) Benghazi (4) Televangelist (5) Raunchula (6) Las Casas (7) Seafoam Lovers (8) Gypsys