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 Post subject: Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game In Town
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game In Town
Review by John Pegoraro (StonerRock.com)
Hydrahead Records
Release date: June 2008


That Harvey Milk ends lead track “Death Goes to the Winner” by co-opting The Beatles “A Day in the Life” - albeit changing that song's opening line to “Woke up, got out of bed, put a pistol to my head” before playing the iconic piano chord - pretty much says it all. The legendary Atlanta band has always approached music with a touch of surreal lunacy, and their latest, Life... The Best Game In Town, doesn't deviate from that path, even if this isn't quite the Harvey Milk of old.

Harvey Milk 3.0 features stalwarts Creston Spiers (vocals, guitar) and Steven Tanner (bass), alongside drummer Kyle Spence (drummer on the band's “Let's out-Kiss Kiss” album, The Pleaser) and one Joe Preston, he of Earth, The Melvins, High on Fire, Sunn0))), Thrones, and a score of other bands (I think at this point, even he can't name them all). The influence of Spence and Preston is subtle but effective. Spence is a Bonham-worthy drummer, giving the songs more of a swing than other Milk skinsman Paul Trudeau, and there are some tweaked moments that could only have sprung from the mind of someone who's spend time finding beauty in subsonic noise (like, say, the drone-doom at the end of “After All I've Done For You, This Is How You Repay Me?”).

And yet, as with their 2006 return from the dead album Special Wishes, Life... is a cumulation of the head crushing sludge of classics My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be and Courtesy and Goodwill Toward Men with the full on rock of The Pleaser. The difference is that Life... manages to bring the two sides of Harvey Milk together while still keeping them separate. With the James Gang-like solo at the end, “Decades” shifts effortlessly from a drunken sailor's stumble to bona fide classic anthem. “Skull Socks and Rope Shoes” and closing track “Good Bye Blues” are two other songs that lurch back and forth, and yet their solos flat out jam. “Roses” has some beautiful harmonized leads that soar over a turgid morass of distortion. For fans of The Pleaser (or the under-appreciated Hayride, longtime friends of the band), “Barn Burner” is right up your alley – it's a shit kicker, ass whomper of a tune. The band's knack for covers (see Kiss, Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams) continues with Fear's "We Destroy the Family." The genius of the band is that the may flirt with the unconventional but they never get so wrapped up in being clever that the songs lose their directness.

Speaking of which, special note has to be made of “Motown,” which is quite possibly the prettiest and most heartfelt song of the band's career. If The Pleaser's “Lay My Head Down” had you reaching for the bottle, “Motown” is going to make the pain go away. That track, "Death Goes to the Winner," and "Decades" are highlights in an album full of great songs.

Some could complain that Life... has a couple of riffs that hew a little to closely to past Harvey Milk numbers, and while I can see that (“A Maelstrom of Bad Decisions” could've been titled “Where the Bee Still Sucks, There Still Suck I”), it hasn't been a detractor for me. Life... The Best Game In Town is another classic from Harvey Milk. It's weird, wonderful, and highly recommended.

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 Post subject: Re: Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game In Town
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:07 pm
Posts: 39
Great write-up. Wow, back here in the archives this forum used to have members who made an actual effort.

"Motown" is an absolute munter. Funny little midpace thing going on and crushing power.


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