M&O Soothe The Soul With 'Almost Us'
The infectiously catchy song 'Tiny Soldiers' guided us last year to Chicago duo Milo & Otis, comprising of singer Jamila Woods (Milo) and producer Owen Hill (Otis), and we have watched in the past year as their brand of introspectively dreamy 'adventure soul' caught on in the blogosphere and beyond. This past March saw them perform at SXSW, and, under the now abbreviated moniker 'M&O', they recently released their latest album, 'Almost Us', a collection of eight songs that sees M&O embrace a creatively eclectic sensibility, incorporating and re-imagining pop, R&B, soul and electronic influences into a soothingly mellow musical confection that possesses a unique and diverse aural signature of their own.
The antithesis of that which is formulaic, M&O embrace and push creative boundaries - the generally spare, minimalist downtempo production, muted percussion and layered vocals provided by Otis sets the stage for Milo's gently beautiful voice and distinctive phrasing to express an unashamed sensitivity and willing vulnerability as she offers introspectively heartfelt observations about the complex, uncomfortable and hard to decipher currents that stir the human heart; a gentle regret infuses Milo's voice as she sings of being haunted by a missing love over the subdued percussion, gently swelling trumpet and wistful synth of 'House'; the catchy synth motif, tight snare and bass murmur of the more uptempo 'It Was The Song' has Milo confessing it was the music that had stirred her emotions rather than her suitor; the warm bassline and synth inflections of 'Blue' are bathed in dreamy layers of harmonies that accompany Milo as she yearns for the chance to offer comfort to someone special; against the backdrop of a sepulchral incantation and ethereal haze, the subtle distortion of Milo's elegiac vocal sings with a ghostly poignance on 'Neighbor'.
Both sonically soothingly and contemplatively thought-provoking , the 'adventure soul' of M&O's 'Almost Us' is a refreshingly absorbing aural experience that seamlessly dissolves the boundaries between genres while simultaneously broadening the musical horizons of the listener, and that is the kind of 'adventure' that we are happy to embark upon any time when M&O are leading the way.