Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Misty Miller and why a change might do you good

"The Whole Family Is Worried"

Release date: 08 April 2016
07 April 2016, 17:15 Written by Lucas Fothergill
Remember Misty Miller? The South Londoner first introduced herself back in 2011, fresh-faced, blonde and ukulele in hand, playing whimsical folk music. It seems like everyone did the same back then. What was wrong with us all? But, just like Bowie and Primal Scream before her, there’s been a change.

The new direction: out with the folk and in with black hair, black eyeliner, tattoos and a punkier new sound. The South Londoner has scrapped her old look and burnt her Ukulele (NOTE: I can’t confirm this - Misty Miller’s old ukulele is probably just gathering dust in her cupboard). A striking change. But does it work?

Miller couldn’t have chosen a better song to reintroduce herself with than “Happy”. If the striking album artwork (isn’t it great?) hadn’t already clued you in on the new Misty, then album opener “Happy” will. By the end she's yelling “I’ve been sleeping with your friends”, an eyebrow raising lyric if you’re a bit boring and you know who Michael Portillo is. There’s a burning, frantic energy to “Happy” that’s a whole lot of fun. If you ever see Miller live, “Happy” is a standout. If you go – make sure you yell along.

The Whole Family Is Worried has a host of strong moments. “Taxi Cab” reminded me of early Kings of Leon (y’know, back when King of Leon didn’t sound empty and joyless), “Lonesome Cowboy” has some furious guitar thrashing and "Next To You" is strutting and muscular.

On “Girlfriend”, Miller delves into grittier subject material “Give me money just to touch me” and does her very best to banish any memory we had of her earlier incarnation “I was your girlfriend / And on you I cheat / In between the sheets.” At points, it might seem that Miller is trying a little too hard to change your mind about her, to get you, the listener, to accept and appreciate what’s new. That might be true, but you forget about all of that as soon as the album starts. It’s a change that - crucially - works, and is a distinct improvement on her earlier material.

With album closer “Best Friend”, the best really is saved for last. Miller’s voice, laden with spitting anger and striking vulnerability at the same time, sings about losing someone truly close to you. Her accessible lyrics, “I’m losing my best friend”, bare real power and sensitivity. It’s on tracks like this that Misty Miller shows off what a talented songwriter she is. You don’t really get a collage, or an impression of what you think Miller thinks, you get straight up what she feels. It feels honest. “Best Friend” proves a strong and fitting close to the album. It’s just a shame that the rest of the record, bar perhaps “Happy” and “Girlfriend”, don’t ever reach quite the same heights.

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