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Phantom Limb

Milo Korbenski - When You Gonna Tell 'Em The Truth, Aaron?

Milo Korbenski - When You Gonna Tell 'Em The Truth, Aaron?

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Preorder due for release 3rd May

Rising, enigmatic Brighton songwriter Milo Korbenski delivers his debut album proper When You Gonna Tell ‘Em the Truth, Aaron?, a stunning collection of haunted, heavy, unique art-dream-indie-pop earworms.

Milo Korbenski is a shadowy, anonymous Brighton solo musician only publicly seen in a featureless white mask, Stetson and denim jacket. However, his deeply expressive take on lo-fi slacker indie invokes a heartfelt intimacy, singing straight from the soul. This new album - an official debut following a period of self-releasing - displays endless catchy-as-hell hooks, clever lyrical wordplay, and deceptively lean instrumentation that belies its own simplicity.

The music of WYGTETTA? (Milo’s own stylisation) crosses references points as broadly spread as Kurt Vile, Helado Negro, Black Sabbath, The xx, The Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie Sioux, Jagwar Ma and Calvin Johnson while retaining a vitally singular energy. Milo’s underlying unreality is more haunted than the indie-leaning acts mentioned here, and the readymade homespun cassette sonics lend a charm beyond the prettified sheen of his pop influences.

A true storyteller, Milo tells us “every song on the album is about a dysfunctional character enduring a relationship that isn’t really working.” Throughout the record, we are introduced to a series of surreal, mythologised narratives that make up a wide, interconnected arc. “There is a lack of honesty to the narrator's stories throughout the album, hence the title: When You Gonna Tell ‘Em the Truth, Aaron?”

Opener “Rooster” leans into the darkness, a fairy wearing boots. It marries a snarling, stomping riff with Milo’s uncanny perfection of melodic catchiness, dressing bleak instrumentation in shimmering, silken, pop mastery to last in the memory well beyond the three minutes of its duration. The track’s head-nodding, relentless rhythmic drive combines with searing lead guitar to propel its mercurial vocal delivery into glorious singalong bliss. “I was trying to make a very friendly metal album,” Milo reveals.

Across the album, hooks spring up with colour and - shining through a newfound love of gritty overdrive and dark themes - true joy. Key single “Booksmart Hunny” is a stunning example of this deft ability to weave the dreamily evocative and subtly melancholic with genuine riffs and a relentless tempo. Its chorus hits like an arena-filler, but retains the spectral, rarefied magic that makes Milo’s music so singular. “It’s a record of people who are stuck in a kind of spiritual void and don’t want to change. They become a sort of ghoul or phantom in their own reality,” we are told.

Later on the record, “Feral Guest” - another standout - is a plaintive downtempo swoon, genuinely moving in its sweetness but, as we expect from Milo Korbenski, delivered from a strange and spooky beyond. Likewise, the octave-dropped swagger of “Big Rig” tells the story of a man dreaming to escape the mundanities of everyday life by becoming an American trucker, complete with cowbell and double denim.

Quickly becoming a formidable live act, Milo Korbenski performs live (in mask and Stetson) with a full band, and has played alongside acts such as Babii, Jeffrey Lewis, Art d’Ecco and others with a flourishing stage presence. A true auteur, and inexhaustibly prolific, Milo home-recorded, designed and self-released a number of albums on streaming platforms (and enjoyed staggering listening figures) without any backing, and only recently signed his first record deal. The fruits of this self-releasing period are collected on Vol. 1, released by Phantom Limb as a limited cassette in May 2023 - a record that sold out in minutes.
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