A declaration is made at the start of Denver-based sextet Milquetoast & Co.’s new album Shiny (little) Mind — one that hones in on the band’s own tumultuous road that led them where they are today. Originally formed in Boston where they self-released three EPs that pinned down their love of jittery Americana that blended rock and blues alongside ecstatic songwriting that captured all the eclectic experiences of human relationships. But the band eventually parted ways over a myriad of reasons that ranged from parenthood to world travel — and the story might’ve ended there had the band not re-established itself in the heart of the Rockies with a fully re-formed lineup comprised of James McAndrew, Dan Zangari, Kyle Bocchieri, Joseph Engel, Sam Oatts, and Ben Parrish.
On the album’s opening song and title track, Milquetoast & Co. trace in raw clarity the kinds of things running through the mind of a person looking to change the road they find themselves on. “Who are you to say that I cannot change my tiny little mind?” croons frontman McAndrew, perhaps crystallizing for himself the necessity that came out of finding a “right time” as opposed to waiting for one to get the band back together. McAndrew himself has played with a rotating cast of musicians — and he’s since asserted that the current lineup is indeed the permanent one — with the group now spanning generations in terms of age and musical influences.
“Done/Undone,” a foot-stomper that thunders forward on warped strings and warbling guitars, betrays a grunge-tint to McAndrew’s anxious vocals; while “Barfly,” with its jaunty bass lines and wailing brass instrumentation, dutifully tips a hat to Milquetoast & Co.’s bluesy offerings; and then there is “The Bricks,” a folk-tinged anthem that captures some of the best moments of the band’s callithumpian sound and earnest songwriting. “Build a better world, or a bigger house to hide within,” McAndrew howls alongside fluttering strings on the song, offering an ardently fueled choice amidst his desperate cries.
Listen to Milquetoast & Co.’s new album Shiny (little) Mind below!