Not good, not great, just there. MilkDrive’s “Road from Home” is an almost totally inoffensive release, but it doesn’t shine that brightly, either.
Falling neatly into the newly hip folk/bluegrass genre, the group cranks out tunes that lean more toward the Nickel Creek bluegrass end of the spectrum than the Avett Brothers’ pop side. I am no hater on the genre; I’ve been to three Avett Brothers concerts, saw Abigail Washburn and Trampled by Turtles at SXSW this year, and generally love me some banjo. It’s not oversaturation of the genre that causes me to be unimpressed; it’s the thoroughly competent musicianship and songwriting.
“Dry Creek Inn” is a nice little murder ballad, and “Nightmares by the Sea” feels a bit darker than the rest of the material here. “Last Night I Dreamed” is an upbeat piece with three-part harmonies, which is also cool. But there’s nothing here that has a MilkDrive stamp on it. There’s nothing I can point to and say, “This is why you should buy this.”
If you’re a big fan of “newgrass” and have been jonesing for a fix since Trampled by Turtles hit The Conservatory a couple months ago, you should check out MilkDrive. Otherwise, this one’s just OK. —Stephen Carradini