Published Apr 02, 2015Releasing Pacific Milk as Limblifter vs. Ryan Dahle (as 2009's Irrational Anthems was) is likely to stir greater interest — Dahle's most recognized work to date has been with Limblifter and Age of Electric — but old fans expecting the band's first album in 11 years to satisfy their nostalgia for '90s alt-rock may be disappointed by the modern indie pop here that has an Islands, Arcade Fire and New Pornographers kind of appeal.
Dahle has a solid track record of interesting pop-rock arrangements through various projects over the past decade (including Mounties, alongside Hawksley Workman and Hot Hot Heat's Steve Bays); Pacific Milk continues this trend. The elementary, summer vacation-esque "Been There Done That" speaks to his lack of desire to recreate the fuller, rockier early Limblifter sound.
The album's vibe is laid back, including the island feel of "Dopamine" and the quirky interludes on "Key to Karavana" and "Hotel Knife." "Position Open" offers a more pared down version of traditional Limblifter tendencies, but ultimately, Pacific Milk is a force- and feedback-free zone. The elements here are defined and airy: synths and strings are woven between clean drum rolls and tinkering guitar, and though the bass lines seem sparse and rudimentary at first, there's a sense of skilful deliberation that eventually reveals itself. Dahle follows his muse on Pacific Milk, and listeners would be wise to do the same. (We Are Busy Bodies)