If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear that there were at least four people playing on this, Pink Milk’s debut album, Purple. In fact, there are but two, Maria Forslund (vocals, drums) and Edward Forslund (guitars, bass), both of whom use every effects pedal they can to tweak up the volume that extra notch and get it to echo that little longer.
Opener, “River Phoenix”, sets the scene perfectly – ice-cold moodiness with the threat of malevolent showers, there are no words but the intention is clear. Appropriately, their muscles are flexed further on “Muscles”, Mariah’s breathy tones swooping over enormous guitar chords and a slowly stomping dinosaur footstep of a drum beat.
“Detroit” sees Pink Milk at their version of breakneck speed, which is any other guitar band’s slow number being played at 33rpm instead of 45rpm. The accompanying video is a nice counterpoint to the track – hazy and happy, yet oddly haunting. “Kill 4 U”, perhaps the strongest track on the album, has a Depeche Mode-esque dark majesty to it, the guitar work is genuinely thrilling, showcasing an instrument taken for granted but still capable of astonishing.
“LA Cop” is something of a welcome instrumental pause for breath – the echoes suggest huge amounts of space, yet the overall sound is strangely claustrophobic. “Awakening of Laura” is pushed out of the way quickly by “Sushi Dreams (Flesh & Blood)”, which is every bit as terrifying as it looks on paper – in fact, although causal listeners will point fingers excitedly at My Bloody Valentine and The Cranes as precursors, this reminded me very much of electro-rock innovators, Chrome, and their starkly cruel thrash.
“Drommens Skepp” and “Sans Toi” pick up the pace yet further, really bringing the tracks together as an album, as opposed to a collection of assembled, random tracks. It feels like the whole album has been dragging us towards something; which, in turns out, it has. Their cover of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love is” is a slap around the face of the band’s AOR chops and reinvents it as a mournful, epitaph-like statement. Purple takes time to fall in love with but the effort is well worth the investment.