Early Impressions: Better Off - 'Milk'

You're going to hear a lot of people compare Better Off to Jimmy Eat World this year, and you're going to shrug that off. Comparisons to Jimmy Eat World aren't exactly rare around this part of the music scene, and there aren't many modern bands who have been able to balance the emotional jaggedness, angst and carefully crafted musicianship of early JEW albums. 

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Better Off is the exception to the rule. Their new album, Milk, is thoroughly enjoyable through its 13 tracks and 44 minutes, finding a nice middle ground between being a fun rock record and the promising emo leanings this band displayed on (I Think) I'm Leaving in 2013. I had high hopes for Milk after hearing the angry-ish, fuzzy alt-rock of "Whatever I Don't Care" early on, and the rest of the album follows in a logical path from that single.

Fuzzy guitars provide a backbone for the particularly Futures-esque "Suicide Island," while other tracks (like "Bella Disorder") see Better Off trying to stretch their wings a bit to see what experimentation works out best. "Unhappy" into "You're Alright" is an early favorite one-two punch, and a lot of Milk's most rewarding moments come when Better Off lets itself ride longer instrumental portions to their full extent. 

 These are only a few early thoughts, and I may write more about this record once its teeth have really sunk into me, but I can already tell Milk will be a worthy and much-visited companion as the weather turns to fall this year. There are quite a few records to get excited about over the next few months, but if you're into the general emo-rock landscape, I'd recommend this album as one to keep an eye on, along with Pentimento's recently announced I, No Longer