Yourcodenameis:Milo, They Came From The Sun

Peter Paphides

By Peter Paphides

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Two years ago, when its full-length debut Ignoto appeared, even Yourcodenameis:milo's apologists wondered quite where the Newcastle quintet might fit into the zeitgeist. Clearly, it was a question that weighed heavily upon corporate shoulders at their label Fiction/Polydor: Within a year of the record's release, YCNI:M was a free agent. It must have been tempting, at times, to gaze on at the fortunes of fellow North-East UK bands such as Maximo Park and Field Music, and forsake the kinetic clatter by upping the art-rock ante.

Newcastle quintet ups the art-rock ante.

But YCNI:M is nothing if not bloody-minded. And with good reason, it turns out. They Came from the Sun is the sound of a band snowballing in confidence. Typical of the form is "Take to the Floor," beginning with Paul Mullen's opening salvo of “We're coming in! We're coming in! Can you hear us?” which hurtles towards a glorious minute-long implosion. Here, as on so many of the songs, stray dissonant power chords somehow conspire to accentuate just how much the band has refined its melodic punch. These are not huge differences from before, but they're enough to ensure repeat listens — in particular on the plaintive minor-chord haemorrhaging of "Screaming Ground" and "To the Cars."

It may have seemed unthinkable a couple of years ago, but there may even be a brace of radio hits here. Catapulting from the same musical zip code as Sonic Youth's "Teenage Riot," "Understand" is perhaps the closest that YCNI:M has come to a straight-ahead love song — whilst, right at the beginning, the vertiginious freefall riffola of "Pacific Theatre" sets a standard that the remaining songs rarely fall beneath.

As for the zeitgeist, well, the other thing that They Came from the Sun makes you realize is what a long time two years can seem. In a changed pop landscape — where groups as disparate as Deerhoof and Enter Shikari can ride to wider adulation brandishing their post-hardcore credentials and “challenging” time signatures, YCNI:M finally sounds like a band that was made for these times. Who knew? Not their old label, that's for sure.