H. E. Miller - Apocalyptic Dreams
For the six or seven people who've read my reviews over the years know that I am a sucked for raw guitar, for noisy testament. "Apocalyptic Dreams" then, is irresistible. H.E. Miller, by himself on an electric guitar, armed with about three and a half chords and a voice somewhere between Paul Stanley and Grant Hart, savagely cuts a sonic swath of kinship with both of those singer's bands. If Billy Bragg's lone guitar screamed more classic rock and less Trotsky, it might have sounded like this.
"Rocking Tonight" sets the tone right off, with jagged guitar runs that sometimes get lost in their own circle, and threaten to fall apart, but hang on. All is not skronk, however. "Strike The Earth" adds some percussion and a neat pop hook to the bare setup. "Miracle" is a light-hearted, Neil Young-ish country-rock piece. The ominous desperation of "Call on Me" is emotion close to the bone, truly a song that has to be heard for rock to still be relevant; Hasil Atkins would be proud. Likewise the harrowing "Death Knocking."
Miller tries three times to channel the Ramones ("The Human Race," "Angel of Light," and "Universe") to no avail. Clearly he does has some sense of melody and I'm sure there will be more nuanced material in his future, but for now, he is on when he is almost close to falling apart. "Apocalyptic Dreams" is lo-fi pop-sludge for insomniacs and lovers of rotting amplifiers. H.E. Miller rides the wave of his skills to their limit, and wrings every bit of emotion and rock & roll heart from them.
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