REVIEW | MILWAUKEE BANKS – DEEP INTO THE NIGHT (LP)
Melbourne duo Milwaukee Banks brings a brilliantly layered debut LP, boasting a fusion of post-R&B and electro-soul with Deep Into The Night.
Having recently been signed to Dot Dash/Remote Control Records, the album shows an expansion of direction in production and attention to detail, with Deep Into The Night boasting cameo’s from guest vocalists & producers, as well as a tighter focus on storytelling – a nod, the duo says, to old school rap.
Both Edo and Dyl Thomas have achieved the revival of home-grown rap and hip-hop by pushing the envelope and stamping out stigmas surrounding the Aussie Hip-Hop scene by playing on their strengths and talent and delivering a lyrically diverse album; delving into a more dark and sinister tone.
Opening track ‘Too High To Die’ was written by the duo’s friend Cameron Chapman and immediately sets this album apart from 2014’s Rose Water EP with a more underground vibe exploiting the artists personal doubts lyrically, and confronting us personally with heavy beats and brooding sounds shrouded in defeat and desperation. The track plays on the artists “blood lust” for the next “head rush” and the haters who hold him back from success with the lyrics spilling out “I don’t think about it too much/Haters all around us/We’re too high to die”.
‘Faded’ continues this dense, lit theme with a nocturnal insight into alcoholism and the fine line between euphoria and depression; that state of limbo between hearing that warning in your head which tells you that you’re going too far down the rabbit-hole, but choosing to ignore it. The track features stoner-like percussion and hypnotic synth with the lyrics “I’m faded/f***in’ faded/Still jaded’ delivering heart-on-the-sleeve lyricism from the inside-out.
‘Faded’ is the track that sets the tone for the following titles on the LP, drawing in heavy symbolism in songs such as ‘Mona Lisa/Together’ with the protagonist, a ‘cut-throat b**tch’ who would burn anyone for a dollar, being a metaphor of people obsessed with the possession and commercialism in modern society.
‘Shame On Me’ featuring the angelic vocals of Summer Disbray is a dreamy track featuring a more minimalist palette of sound with the lyrics entwining two different views of a couple and their struggle with trust and emotional connection; “Love me once, shame on you/Love me twice, shame on me/Leave me once, shame on you/Leave me twice, shame on me”. Other collabs include ‘In The Air’ featuring Ballarat-based musician Josh Haire (Gangz) with a very similar tune to ‘Shame On Me’ but exposing a male-voiced hook, and ‘First Light’ with the little girl/playful vocals of Kucka which perfectly complements the ambient sounds and erratic, industrial glitches of the entirety of the album.
Deep Into the Night is a deeply introverted LP exploring the journey of Milwaukee Banks so far, as well as the wider societal complexities eschewed in modern society; such as the fact that life cycles by so quickly and often overwhelms us to the point that we lose sight of what matters most.
If I could liken Deep Into the Night to any album on the wider commercial scene, it would reign close to Kid Cudi‘s Man On The Moon album with its similarity in rich storytelling interwoven with a more broody, introspective vibe as well as featuring a ‘Drake-esque’ auto tune which captures and grips your attention so that you are fully immersed in the rhythm and rhyme of the music.
A savvy, versatile, complex and strongly produced LP with the perfectly executed mix of both downtempo and hip-hop, this album really has the hallmarks of a trail-blazing record within the Aussie hip-hop/rap and wider music scene.
By Taylor Anne Koniw.