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Album Review

Milltown Brothers weren't the best-known Brit-pop band of the '90s — they didn't have the impact of Oasis, the Stone Roses, the Verve, or Suede, and they only recorded two albums before calling it quits. Nonetheless, Milltown Brothers made some noteworthy contributions to England's rock scene, and Slinky is a likable debut even if falls short of exceptional. This 1991 release is an example of what critic Nelson George would call a retro nuevo approach — meaning that it combines elements of the past and what was present back in the early '90s. George, who is best known for covering R&B and hip-hop, uses the term retro nuevo to describe R&B artists who, in the '80s and '90s, combined classic soul and urban contemporary elements — Lisa Stansfield and Levert, for example. Slinky isn't R&B at all, but it has a retro nuevo outlook in that it combines early-'90s alternative rock with elements of '60s rock. This CD is retro in that it is very mindful of the British Invasion rock of the '60s; it is nuevo (the Spanish word for new) in that it also owes something to England's punk-influenced alternative rock of the '90s. Just as Mary J. Blige will claim both '70s soul and hip-hop as sources of inspiration, Milltown Brothers have no problem bringing different eras of Brit-pop together. The melodic band displays solid power pop instincts on this album, which isn't a masterpiece but is still a satisfying footnote in the history of British rock.


Formed: Colne, Lancashire, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Peaking during the wake of the "Madchester" scene, Milltown Brothers -- vocalist/guitarist Matt Nelson, guitarist Simon Nelson, bassist James Fraser, keyboardist Barney James, and drummer Nian Brindle -- derived a spirited '60s pop sound, highlighted by the zest of a farfisa organ. Although they never reached the popularity of their contemporaries -- Inspiral Carpets, Charlatans UK -- the band did manage to gain...
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Slinky, Milltown Brothers
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