Not to be confused with a similarly named brand of dog biscuits, Canadian duo Milk & Bone return with a tasty and nourishing 4-track EP that leaves you hungry for more.
A collaboration with Belgian producer Alex Lustig, ‘Dive’ is the follow-up to their second album ‘Deception Bay’. It sees them working in the same musical vein as Chvrches, the xx and Grimes.
Their brand of electropop draws on a distinctly 1980s sound, with sweeping synths and a drum machine high in the mix. The production is clean and highly-polished, but subtle enough to allow the gently melancholic melodies to take centre stage.
While the moody ‘Ride or Die’ provides the EP with a solid start, it’s on second track ‘Peaches’ that Milk & Bone show what they’re capable of. A sweet slice of bubblegum pop, it has the potential to be a massive summer anthem. The delicate, high-pitched vocals and infectious hooks combine to create a sun-drenched toe-tapper.
Things get significantly darker with ‘Vision. Colour.’. It’s a chilly and downbeat track with a chorus that has the air of a twisted nursery rhyme. It shares the moodiness and slick production style of The Cure and early Pet Shop Boys.
Final track ‘Blue Dream’ sees a return to the warmth of before. Slow-burning and almost hymn-like, its sweet harmonies and swooning synthlines create a sense of yearning and awe. Drums kick in towards the end, followed by rippling synths clearly influenced by electropop pioneer Giorgio Moreoder.
It’s another example of the degree to which Milk & Bone are in debt to the past. Yet there’s no sign of lazy nostalgia or plagiarism here. The 1980s sheen they add to their songs comes across more as a reverent and welcome tribute to their influences rather than a rehashing of another era’s sound.
Their talent for strong melodies mean that Milk & Bone are capable of producing songs of high enough quality to stand alongside the music of the past that they so admire.
‘Dive’ EP is out now via Bonsound