Since I discovered them early last year, M!LK have slowly gone onto becoming one of my favourite active Japanese groups. Their full embrace of larger than life anthemic pop music is right up my alley, and singles like last years excellent ERA and Kasuka ni, kimidatta (my favourite song from them) further reaffirm my faith in them. Though they aren’t afraid to tackle harder edge pop either, such as in the bombastic and very The Chaser esque Over The Storm from 2018. And while I do adore both sides of the group, I will always have a soft spot for the groups more melodic side Their latest single Winding Road falls towards this side of the groups discography, and boy do I love every second of it.
This is the kind of classic pop sound that resonates with me the most. It’s the sound that I fell in love with when I first got into j-pop and music in general. It’s bright upbeat tempo is euphoric to say the least, sharing a lot of similarities with one of the groups best album tracks, the anthemic Around The World. But whereas that track leans further into its edm elements, Winding Road feels more timeless, riding on a classic and instantly invigorating guitar loop. This isn’t the kind of lurching build or soundscape that has characterised so many of Kpop’s recent singles, but something that feels fresh and polished. They propel the track forward in exhilarating fashion, never breaking for some unwanted or pointless sidestep. The hook is equally brilliant, absolutely exploding every time it rears its head. There’s a lesson to learn here Kpop.
Though the insistent layering of vocals is something that doesn’t always work, there are some groups whose blend of vocals is always exhilarating. M!LK is one of those groups. Though most of their songs feature heavy layering of their voices throughout most of the track, it provides a brilliant sense of anthemic direction and imbues each of their tracks with an almost bittersweet vibe. It’s timeless, feel good music, and we can never get enough of that. If this is the kind of music that most of their next album will comprise of, then I think we’ve got a strong contender for album of the year.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10