A traditional line up of guitars, bass and drums (and vocals), The Lost Millions hail from Austin, Texas and you get a feel of that geography running through their DNA.
We kick off the EP with See the Light, where we discover that the singer isn’t scared of breaking out the falsetto to good effect, and the band aren’t shy of a little psychedelia with their rock. They also don’t mind having a bit of a work-out, either. There are some really pleasing sections on this opening track, particularly when the main riff of the song is picked up by guitars, bass and vocals for a wonderful bit of unison playing that emphasises the hook before going into an extended instrumental outro. Some wonderful flanging on the guitars and some playing that sounds artistically loose, but isn’t, and you have a heady confection for the opening track.
Things stay pensive for My Street. The Lost Millions aren’t scared to have intros and outros to their songs – and the experience is all the more refreshing for it. The effect is one of unhurried cool, but the arrangements are still as skinny as anything – everything’s there for a reason. The lead vocal sounds a little bruised and careworn, suiting My Street’s atmosphere beautifully.
Guitar work throughout is delightfully unfussy but very pointed: some tight chugging holds the beating heart firmly in place, whilst in other parts, strings are bent to create some affecting dissonance to emphasise certain moments. A thin 1970s organ is introduced to warm up the layering a little more, and guitar melodies are explored as the piece is held together with insistent buzzy guitar lines, and a lovely open kit sound featuring judicious use of the ride cymbal.
Wisdom of the Mad Priest begins, and the guitars have been given plenty of space to shine. And to shimmer. Working together to weave an intricate backdrop to the lead vocal, you realise their parts and sounds have been very carefully crafted. Featuring a more traditional arrangement, Mad Priest sounds full of its own folklore. I almost wish the vocal was mixed a little louder to make enjoying the lyrics a tad easier, but in these soundscapes the voice is very much a part of the whole texture rather than being highlighted front and centre. It’s a smart choice, as it helps the organic feel of the whole EP. This song seems like it would go down a storm live. A classic-sounding descending chord pattern marks this out as a very instant piece.
Next up, we have Mad at the Sun. As before, the vocals are thick in the mix. Casual and cool, they are syncopated with the guitar licks here. And then play off against them in classic question-and-answer arrangement. Building to a snarl and then falsetto whoops, the song shimmies to a driving, bluesy conclusion that illustrates both aggression and fun.
Novellas Dantes concludes with Complicated, a laid-back, rumbling groove with a spectral vocal that’s beautifully doubled to deliver a warming, spooky feel. We have a guitar panned to each ear, carving out shapes to cajole and beguile the listener with a vocal right down the middle.
A lot of reviewing is predicated upon making comparisons between the subject and other acts that the readership might know, but with The Lost Millions, this is more of a challenge than usual, and that’s a real feather in their cap. I’m put in mind of the much-hyped sensation from the UK, Gay Dad (but without the sparkly sheen), some tunes from the Black Crowes and even Jimi Hendrix at certain points, but the truth is that Novellas Dantes is doing a great job of carving out its own niche. This is actually a beautifully complicated collection of works, but the band have made it sound effortless. An extremely impressive sonic journey in 5 tracks. Go check it out!