Milk in the Sun is an odd choice for the title of a record as sun-dappled and scrappily appealing as this. Pitched more as psychedelic indie pop, and out on the well-respected psych label Moon Glyph, Milk in the Sun is more in the vein of a slightly buzzed c86 color scheme and some of that sound’s classic participants.
Opener “Peace and Love” initially wrongfoots the record, a piece of lo-fi cut-up that’s a beige chunk of basement experimentalism, unfortunately, an inessential start to proceedings. The following song, the sweetly pristine jangle pop “Weather,” opens the shutters on the record in a muted sunshine, gorgeous Polaroid captured sun flare. Somehow pulled from a past that never occurred, Sprout’s casual musical laconicism, DIY production, and clear gift with melody is an outstanding effort on a long-overdue solo outing. With the record’s other ‘song’ songs, there continues the musical concept of a Super 8 take on classic 60s / indie golden era songwriting; the title track’s Jonestown jangle and nippy little guitar solo ringing in the head long after its brief 2:42 life.
The Mary Chain’s Darklands is recalled on the closing “Butterfly”, a pacier take on that group’s dark narco beauty. Things can also nudge into the rowdy and red, “List” ramping things up pace-wise with heavier processed guitars and dusty phasing dancing between the speakers. Sprout steps closer to the borders of dream pop on “Ghost”’s chiming buried in reverb and fuzz, the liberty cap audio peeping through the foliage. In terms of the wider expected psych edge, there are definitely touches throughout the record, basic synth chord parts, backward instrumentation, and the buried indistinct vocals, but it’s part of the texture of their construction rather than nods to genre.
There are three other experimental pieces scattered throughout the second half of the record (“Blessing”, “Blessing 2” and “Blessing 3”) that showcase a less song-structured approach from Parker. Gong and Bell percussion over ragged synth drone, a cut-up experiment over a churning backing and a percussive jangle mash-up, they take up a substantial chunk of the record’s runtime; they’re barnacles in between the starfish. Their purpose here is perhaps a way of Sprout announcing that he’s still very much in an anything-might-go state of mind despite the record’s focus on, and excellence in, songcraft.