The Present Moment‘s Scott Milton is a songwriter in the grand, classic tradition. Big soaring melodies, powerful vocals, and heartfelt, penetrating lyrics that are at once specific to the songwriter’s own private experiences, yet universal enough for everyone to identify with, Milton harkens back to the glory days of people like Bryan Ferry, Martin Gore, and Ian McCulloch who created beautiful, swooning songs about heartbreak, failure, emotional yearning, and the bittersweet ironies of romantic misunderstanding. The Present Moment’s first LP, The High Road, stunned us all when it first came out 2 years ago with its shadow drenched, minimal sounds and its over abundant eclecticism that seemed to span the entire history of dark underground music. From the dank, synthy post-punk of A Million To One, to the blippy pure synth pop ofLow Dead, to the late post-industrial crunch of The Damage Is Loved, the underground synth scene suddenly had an honest to god songwriter in its midst, swathed in the fog machines and strobe lights, that could actually really sing and who could compose compelling, hyper-catchy, unforgettable songs complete with hooks, verses, and choruses. We all loved it.
The High Road was followed by the beautiful LP Loyal To A Fault, one of the best LPs of 2011. As much as we adored The High Road for it being unapologetically all over the map stylistically, Loyal To A Fault was a decidedly much more focused and polished album. Milton’s songwriting became more sophisticated: his lyrics became more clever, more ironic, and perhaps even a little colder in their realism as the compositions became much tighter. Loyal To A Fault felt much more like a real album, whereas The High Road seemed in comparison more of a loose collection of songs and ideas of an exuberant artist still finding his musical aesthetic. Every song (especially the unforgettable, chill inducing New Day and Rejection) had something in common thematically with one another; the concepts of loss and regret, longing and rejection taking center stage. This wasn’t just nostalgic, dark meta-pop anymore. This was genuine confession, earnest testimony that you could dance and sing along to, true pop music in the absolute best sense.
So, it would seem that after two wildly impressive and fully confident LPs released within the span of just a few years that Scott Milton (working now with ex-Beautiful Skin‘s Ross Totino) would take some time off and rest on his laurels for a little while. But no. Suddenly, he’s surprised us all with not only a massive new track that sounds different than what he’s done on The High Road and Loyal To A Fault (though not exactly abandoning his signature sound), Milton has also announced that what was once planned as just a small EP of 4 new tracks is now mutating into a full fledged LP. Exciting news indeed because the new track General Relief sounds devastatingly gorgeous. Sweeping, atmospheric, and haunting with a hard driving rhythm that Andrew Eldritch will undoubtedly be jealous of, if the rest of Milton’s new output is every bit as strong as General Relief, then his new album is going to blow our cloaks off! It will definitely be one of the most anticipated releases of 2013. We can’t wait.- Nove Mura