Canadian chanteuse Amy Millan is best known for fronting the indie rock act Stars. Millan's charming girlish vocals have also appeared on albums from Sixteen Tons, Broken Social Scene, and Jason Collett. In 2006, Millan put things in her own words for her first solo album, 'Honey from the Tombs'. This songbook of romance and reflection took three years to record and features performances by Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, Jimmy Shaw of Metric, the bluegrass band Crazy Strings, as well as contributions from her Stars bandmates Chris Seligman and Evan Cranley. This is a record that will get you through the night a lonesome and introspective set of country songs. Just grab your whiskey glass and yourself and sing along to this awesome roots record.
Honey From The Tombs
may be Montreal artist Amy Millan's solo debut, but any Canadian indie rock aficionado will already have heard her voice on a number of recordings from Broken Social Scene and Stars. Knowing that, if edgy alt-rock is what you are seeking from this release, be prepared to look elsewhere; contrary to the gothic-looking cover, this is primarily a collection of bluegrass-affected music, though there are some wonderfully languid alt-country melodies to be found within these grooves.
The disc is divided into two basic sounds; the first is a straight-up yee-haw hoedown that comes too easily and leaves the memory just as quickly ("Blue in Yr Eye" "Ruby ll"). The second style, however, is where the CD truly shines; a Cat Power-meets-Mazzy-Star mash-up of tracks that are perfect to watch shooting stars by. "All The Miles" contains some stellar accompaniment to Millan's sweet voice, (largely performed by Ian Blurton of Blurtonia/Change of Heart fame) while "Wayward and Parliament" is equally breathy and beautiful. The one exception to the two-style pattern is "Headsfull," a Veruca Salt-esque number that shakes you awake, but frustratingly leaves you longing for more. All in all, an admirable first effort, but one which would raise up a notch from good to gorgeous if she followed more of her original ideas and spent less time performing predictable old-school country licks. --Denise Sheppard