Milo & Otis Ease In With 'Almost Us'

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


There are days where I truly miss the collegiate lifestyle. Just soaking in whatever came my way, opening my mind wide to possibilities in-between the chaos, popping in and out of small, hole-in-the-walls to water and feed myself --- the everyday of just simply trying to find my way. Chi-Town's Milo & Otis, comprised of vocalist Jamila Woods (Milo) and producer Owen Hill (Otis), often give me that nostalgic feel for those mellow madness days with their songs, and though they have a much more stylish and assured direction than I ever did in college, they make music that is youthful, introspective, and carefree, reminding me of those easier times.

Speaking of easy, their second EP, Almost Us, is just that. Going for a minimalist downtempo groove, the duo really picked the right moment to release this, as it's a Spring-ish type of soundtrack that ebbs and flows with the merging of Mr. Otis' bed of muted percussion and sonic synthesizers, to the honeyed combed vocals courtesy of Miss Milo. It captures their 'adventure soul' aesthetic, blooming right on off with the musing horn flourished opener, "House". This track was the initial intrigue that led me to seek out their previous material (their 2012 debut EP, The Joy is up and streaming on their SoundCloud spot), and made it simple for me to fall in love with their modernizing take on the soulful and electronic side of folk-pop.

Readjusting such familiar genres seems no struggle for the two as they color out of lines, assembling sounds and rhythms that shouldn't work together but do (the baroque shimmer of "Jimi Savannah" and "RUN!") and experimenting with meditatives (the dreamy cloud swell of "Blue", and wistful haunts of "Hollow" and "Neighbor") that are light on their feet but heavy on confession. They aren't all cool relax, as highlight "It Was The Song" is a percussive squiggle of an uptempo while getting lost in the thicket of guitars of "When Pigs Fly" isn't a bad ideal.

Soothing, smart, and exploratory, Almost Us is Milo & Otis continuing to hone in on the blurring of genre lines while never surrendering to the heart and soul of the lyrical matter. As they advance forward with their soulful adventures, we should follow their lead, and allow them to charm us into the easy life.

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