The first single “Eggshellz” from Mark Mills’ fourth full length album “Be Okay”, begins with a primordial wail, from the depths of Mills’ soul, which is woven into the textures of a reverb drenched synth organ. There is a quality reminiscent of The Dears, or Arcade Fire’s earlier works.
Soon after, the beat of a Linndrum, a 1980's analog drum machine, initiates this collection of music, being an instrument Mills has used before. Perhaps as a means to return to himself & embody the voice of his upbringing; family road trips, cassette tapes & having been birthed into the audiological transitions of 1985, from late analog to early digital sound technologies. The sound selection & mixing technique sits somewhere in the middle of these two worlds.
Right from the first line of Eggshells, there seems to be a new found tenderness in his voice, a level of vulnerability that the artist has yet to share with the world.
“The weight of the world is just enough to crush your hopes, and every time I figure out what it takes to make a better home...”
There is a density to Mark Mills’ delivery. Heartfelt & somber. There is a tone to the sonic presentation that implies this fourth album will be a step into the unknown for Mills, carrying with him the knowledge of someone who has completely given up, and somehow made it back to safety. An updated version.
The rounded crunch & delay of the Bass guitar, performed by Colin Cowan (Elastic Stars), immediately elevates the punch & drive of the track, making it clear why Cowan has supported acts such as Destroyer, Dan Magnan & Black Mountain on stages all over the planet.
The thematic continuity of this musical offering displays Mills’ ability to continue to expand on his depth & thoughtfulness as a songwriter & producer. The added textures of live drums layered over the Linndrum, performed by Mike Wallace (Preoccupations, Women, Peeling), is an added element which is welcomed, & launches this album into newer dimensions for Mills & his listeners.
The reoccurring lyrical sentiment that extends & arcs through “Be Okay” is one which we are all married to:
Death, and the rebirth that occurs through it.
This album articles Mark Mills’ learnings as a father, lover, & an artist, integrating the truth of his humanity & his journey through loss, grief, & heart break, strengthening his ability to be okay.
"Be Okay" will be streaming everywhere August 20, 2020.