Milly Tabak and the Miltones: Honest Woman (digital outlets)

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Milly Tabak and the Miltones: Honest Woman (digital outlets)

When singer/songwriter of the Miltones, Milly Tabak, said recently they sound more sensual live and that would come through on this new album, she wasn't kidding.

There were steamy moments on their self-titled debut, notably on the brooding almost swampy Glory.

But this one announces itself with opener Cognac (on Spotify, the title track comes first on record apparently) which – once you get past a Supertramp moment – delves into blue velvet/Steely Dan slinkiness and moody guitars as Tabak, still sounding like a Stevie Nicks sibling (even more so on Innocence), yearns and blurs the lyric.

The loose affiliation with country-rock of the first album remains intact here, but is given additional class by the superb musicianship of the band: tip o' the hat to stellar guitarist Liam Pratt, keyboard player Guy Harrison, drummer Tom Broome and inventive bassist Chip Matthews who elevate these songs everywhere.

Things get neatly turned down for the country ballad (with gentle gospel backing vocals) Hey Sisters, the sassy Running Your Mouth comes with swinging horns (and a natty piano part by Harrison) and will doubtless be a showstopper live, and Roam opens as a burning bluesy piece where Pratt lays down some achingly soulful lines in the manner of Roy Buchanan which opens out Nicks-like into a soaring rock ballad.

Woman You Need is a tough blues-bar song of tension/release, the title track finds Tabak at her most emotionally revealing on a more intimate song of self-discovery (with thrilling but complimentary guitar by Pratt) and Sandy Mill drops by to add lovely backing vocals on Why Don't You Love It.

Tabak and the Miltones channel a lot of the Seventies -- perhaps too much -- into these songs and arrangements (classic Fleetwood Mac obviously, the jazz inflections of Steely Dan, Maria Muldaur, a touch of the country-soul of the Amazing Rhythm Aces).

But those classic tropes are mostly shaped into some very memorable, professionally executed songs.

And kudos again to the band which is flexible enough to bring depth, soul and thoughtfulness to this music.

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For a recent interview with Milly Tabak and a review of their previous album go here.

You can hear this album on Spotify here

Milly Tabak & The Miltones
Honest Woman Album Release Show
Saturday 15 August
The Tuning Fork

Auckland


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Mike Rudge - Aug 18, 2020

Have just listened to this for the third time. It is a quantum leap forward from their last album which was good. Great to be able to hear a band make such progress. NZ is well served by some great women artists at the moment. This and Reb Fountain’s latest album will be in my top albums for the year.

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