EP Review – Singing as You Leave by Neil Milton (2018)(Too Many Fireworks Records)

No automatic alt text available.Neil Milton is a Poland (Warsaw) based Scottish ex-pat, who is still very much in touch with the British psyche.

The opening title track provides a perfect summation to the generational divide between old duffers whose ‘quaint’ racial attitudes led to the UK voting to leave Europe a couple of years ago…

Straighten your tie 

Echo the tired lines 

Building a pyramid of lies 

Abandon us while singing as you leave 

…and the post ’60s born free’s who are mourning the fact that Britain are prepared the forego the economic benefits and personal freedom that comes with their European membership, on the whim of yesterday’s tie wearers.

And now decisions made in ignorance 

Are carved in history 

You’ll set the bridge on fire 

And blindly drag us on 

Milton nails this attitudinal divide between the young and the old in the UK on this issue with repeated use of the segregating word ‘us’ and by infusing the fuzz-pop of the young to get the message over. It is a truly superb track from both a musical and lyrical perspective.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoorHowever, those fearing constant Billy Bragg style political preaching, can be assured that this release is immensely eclectic from both a thematic and musical perspective.

Local Fan (see below) is for football fans, or more specifically those like myself and Milton (we support the ‘mighty’ Airdrie and Peterborough United respectively) who are saddled by the accident of the birthplace of our fathers, and usually their fathers before, with the burden of supporting lower league teams, who despite our love for them, will always be rubbish. Milton sings along to plaintive traditionally jangly indie-pop as he describes the hopelessness of it all:

The hope that kills us springs eternal

Daydream of cheers of victory

However this track emphasizes why we are better than the average Manchester United fan. Why we have more pride than a Chelsea fan. Why there is a dignity in finding yourself at Carlisle United / Cowdenbeath on a cold Tuesday night in mid-winter, doing our finest epileptic spider impressions as our less than free scoring striker scuttles one in off his arse to equalize in the last minute.

As Milton eruditely accentuates in the lyrics below, we have an actual link to the club. We feel part of a community, no matter how small, that actually really cares, rather than merely being a ‘glory hunter’ collecting silverware associations to brag about until another club becomes fashionable.

They never hunger, the glory hunters

The cats that got the cream

You pulled me under, when I was younger

Support your local team

Football fan

Followed your team through my teenage years

Football fan

Ignore the trophy-chasing sneers

No-one has ever answered the question ‘yes but who is your big club’ question that better than Milton does in this track.

The other genuine stand out on the release is the lo-fi, hazy Gorgeous Bully style, twanging, Bridge Will Burn.  This track has an allegoric feels to it inasmuch that the ‘burning bridge’ analogy was used in title track and indeed lyrics such as those below could be about losing European identity or just a straight ‘dying’ love song in equal measures:

this bridge will burn and we have no boat

as the waves crash around us

we sit by the flames

Only the artist will really know, but as with the best of song-writing it has made me think?

I am not sure that Milton will ever become a household name,however if he continues this sort of brilliance he may well receive the sort of critical acclaim that artists with his true independent spirit deserve.

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