Brooklyn band Milagres is founded on change. Before 2010, the band had a different lineup, and a different direction. That’s when frontman Kyle Wilson decided to shed writer’s block by going mountain climbing. While the trip was a success in that he did bust through the block, he also busted up his back. While on bed-rest, Wilson gathered up a new version of Milagres, and penned what would become the band’s breakthrough full-length Glowing Mouth (released by indie imprint Kill Rock Stars in 2012).
The record earned Milagres praise from esteemed outlets like NPR Music (also here). With its grandiose air, lush pop arrangements, and Wilson’s expressive falsetto, a common thread among reviews is that Glowing Mouth sounded like a version of Coldplay that music snobs could actually get behind. But for their upcoming album, Violent Light (out Feb. 24), Milagres decided to go in a different direction. The first few tracks the band’ve let slip off Violent Light are much more compact, and exhibit a distinct early 80s vibe. The band drew on artists like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush for inspiration. You can certainly hear bits of Gabriel on “The Letterbomb,” but with its funky beat, and cold synths, “Jeweled Cave” has late-70s-slash-early-80s Bowie all over it (think “Ashes to Ashes” from Scary Monsters). Wilson sings with a chilly aloofness at one moment, lowering his voice by an octave or so, before exploding with emotion in the next. It adds drama to the track. It’s a different sound than the one that earned them their street cred, but change can be a very good thing.