The meaning of “upbeat” in the indie genre may be a bit convoluted, as it differs from band to band. Mumford & Sons, a classic indie band, may be considered slow compared to Katy Perry, a pop icon. But when compared to Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons might as well be EDM. Finding or classifying upbeat rhythm may just be difficult for indie bands. Milo Greene, a band on the slower spectrum of the indie genre, attempts to experiment with higher tempos, more percussion and a dancier sound in its second album, Control.
After a four-year long hiatus, the band, which lacks a frontman, focused on featuring each of the four artists’ distinct voices and hoped to create a dancier album. Marlana Sheetz and Robbie Arnett each added a higher-pitched, raspy voice, while Graham Fink and Andrew Heringer brought a more folksy sound to the sophomore effort.
One of the tracks, “Gramercy,” follows the upbeat tone, as it starts with synths and a fun laugh, while the drums that follow keep up the momentum. Though the album isn’t one to get you dancing out of your seat, it definitely gets you moving — even if glacially so. This indie version of the bass drop, however, is vastly different from the interlude that follows, which is more melodic and mirrors the band’s first album.
While their previous album relies on overlapping tracks and voices, in Control, it’s easier to distinguish the artists’ perspectives, as each artist gets a solo. Sheetz snatches the spotlight toward the end of the band’s oldest song, “Royal Blue,” fulfilling the band’s goal of emphasizing each unique voice. The song, which had been in the works prior to the second album, sounds similar to the more melodic tones found in their debut.
While the second half of the album doesn’t completely fit with the band’s desire to produce a dancier record, it does follow the band’s overall aesthetic. Milo Greene’s subtle attempts to increase beats and percussion are commendable, but they don’t differ drastically from the original style. It doesn’t feel totally new.
That being said, the track “When It’s Done” shares a similar vibe with the Killers, rather than Local Natives — a band Milo Greene is usually compared to. More mainstream rock than indie, the track returned to an upbeat feel after the second half of the album steered away from that path. This collection of songs, which focuses on a theme of maturing, does show the band’s growth — which is something the band hopes its fans will appreciate as well.
“I think we want our audience to evolve and to grow with us and to experience the groove and the melodies of songwriting,” Arnett said. “Just come in, have fun, forget about your worries.”