Album Review – Milky Chance’s Sadnecessary
It took over a year for German duo Milky Chance’s debut album, Sadnecessary to reach the United States, but the electro-folk band delivers a strong first effort. While “Stolen Dance” was gracing the Billboard charts, Milkey Chance developed a strong fan base in Europe, and more recently the U.S. With their unique blend of tight, finger-picked guitar, reggae and electronic influences, and whiskey-soaked vocals, it’s no wonder why the duo has been able to cross over.
Throughout its twelve tracks, Sadnecessary cements the kind of band Milkey Chance is: one that combines a wide range of influences and current trends in music to craft something uniquely their own that, while at times slightly repetitive, realizes a new niche in the folk genre. From the danceable “Flashed Junk Mind,” to the pulsing drum n’ bass of “Running,” no one instrument is made to seem more important than any other, staying true to the ideals of folk.
The duo’s lack of a handle of English can at times be both confusing and poetic. A prime example of this is the title track, “Sadnecessary”, as singer Clemens Rehbein seems to pine for a lover who hurt him while staring in a mirror. Much like Bon Iver, lyrics such as “mirror, mirror/who’s the happiest/is it the lover or/is it the peel of them?” are simultaneously nonsensical, and and interesting enough that meaning doesn’t necessarily matter.
The true musicianship that Rehbein and DJ Phillip Dausch possess cannot be entirely understood without also watching a live performance. Dausch’s mastery of a number of electronic mediums provides solid support for Rehbein’s skilled guitar work and consistent vocals. To see for yourself, watch their “Le Ring” performance below.
Milky Chance’s consistent songwriting, while entertaining in short bursts, may actually be the one flaw this album has, as it becomes too monotonous to make the album listenable in one sitting. The drums rarely vary in feel from song to song, and Rehbein’s laid-back, scratchy vocals can become intolerable quickly due to a lack of range in the melodies (a nice exception to this being “Stolen Dance”). While every song on the album is solid, their similarities often make them indistinguishable when placed side by side.
In all, this is a great debut from a group that has in two years already topped the charts in Europe and the US, a feat not so easily achieved. With their next album it would be good to see some growth in their songwriting techniques, perhaps taking a few extra risks, but for now I’m very much content with what they’ve produced.
Key Tracks: “Stunner” “Flashed Junk Mind”, “Running”, “Stolen Dance”
Overall score: 7/10