Milton and the Devils Party is back with You Must Contribute, Brain!
You Must Contribute, Brain! is the third album from Philadelphia's Milton and the Devils Party and their most ambitious. Lavishly produced by Brian McTear, the new record features more of the band's trademark literary wit, pop hooks, and 80s-guitar jangle but enhanced with rich musical arrangements. This is not your average indie rock record: it just might be Milton and the Devils Party's Imperial Bedroom (Elvis Costello). But the power-trio consisting of drummer Bob Falgie, guitarist Mark Graybill, and singer-songwriter-bassist (or "stinger") Daniel Robinson asserts its rock-self without their core sound getting lost among the elaborate strings and saxophones.
The title of the album comes from a late-18th-century newspaper poem written by future Poet Laureate Robert Southey (also Lord Byron's bête noire). Robinson adapted the poem into the charming pop gem "Brain!" which opens the record with flourishes of ELO-like strings and a Philly-soul groove--and facetious lyrics. (Each MDP album thus far has featured one song adapted from a poem.) Although a funny expression of writer's block, "Brain!" establishes the more serious themes of the record, which include the modern tendency towards inertia, procrastination, and fear and the need for one to "do something," as Robinson sings in the album's trippy closer, "Happiness Is for the Weak."
More about Milton and the Devils Party
“…the band’s propulsive, power pop music offers the sweet-and-sour whiff of an Elvis Costello or R.E.M. anthem.”
–Philadelphia Daily News
“…don’t let the bookworm status scare you off–there are plenty of hooks to keep things interesting.”
Milton and the Devils Party is an American Indie rock band from Philadelphia, PA. It was formed in 2001 by singer-songwriter-bassist Daniel Robinson and guitarist Mark Graybill. Drummer Bob Falgie joined in 2006.
Critics frequently compare the band's sound to The Smiths and to R.E.M. and praise the songs' lyrics, noting that Robinson and Graybill are English professors. One review credits the band with the invention of a new sub-genre called "jangle noir". One critic writes, "Sure the music is intelligent but it's far from exclusionary". In an interview with Metro Philadelphia, Robinson says, "We don’t want people to think that we’re pompous. We don’t take ourselves too seriously."
As Robinson explains in numerous interviews, the name of the band is derived from a passage in William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell in which Blake calls the poet John Milton "a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it". Robinson tells Metro Philadelphia, "There's a famous belief that Milton, when he wrote Paradise Lost and created the character of Satan, inadvertently made Satan more interesting and appealing than any of the good characters. . . . It's kind of a joke. I thought it would be a funny name for a rock band because there's that whole silly tradition of rock Satanism." Though he is frequently compared to Elvis Costello, Robinson asserts that his primary songwriting influences are Ray Davies, Lloyd Cole, Morrissey, Nick Cave, and Jackson Browne.