V3RM0NT, the sophomore album from Maine-based band Milk St., tells a gripping and vulnerable story of growing up through psyschedelic drug trips and frustrating attempts at untangling generational trauma. It starts on a distorted spoken word track that I imagine aims to recreate the conditions of being high on mushrooms: hazy moments of self-reflection, in this case regarding the band’s creative process that went into making the very album that you’re about to hear. The opener also contains a vague shadow of the main instrumental melody from the next track, “Peyote.”
By the time “Peyote” gets going, you’re fully initiated into Milk St.’s world of personal vignettes told via their folky emo sound. “We usually describe ourselves as Northeast Emo,” says vocalist Jonah Wakefield. “To us that means beautifully depressing; there’s some Appalachian type folk roots in there but tons of grunge and midwest emo as well.” While this can give you an idea of what you’re in for, you have to hear V3RM0NT yourself to appreciate the full scope of what Milk St. offers musically. They’re bursting with creativity and it comes out in a bunch of different ways. This includes the blending of genres that constitutes their core sound, the splicing of spoken word passages in multiple tracks that pull back the curtain a bit, the grand instrumental outro on “Free Acid,” and a combination of more rowdy songs and others that sound more intimate.
While singles like “Peyote” and “China Town” are among the more energetic and catchy, my personal favorite is definitely “I Collect Records (To Cope With My Crippling Mental Illness).” Aside from its painfully relatable title, I feel that this one really showcases the band’s strengths. The stripped-back approach allows its perfect little acoustic guitar riff and evocative lyrics to shine, and by the final minute it sounds like a depressing campfire sing-along (in the best way).
Check out the music videos for “Peyote” and “China Town” below and listen to V3RM0NT here.