Mint Mile – Bliss

4 out of 5

Label: Comedy Minus One

Produced by: Matthew Barnhart (recording and mixing)

The strong – but also somewhat general – point from which Mint Mile began becomes sharpened on The Bliss Point, their followup EP. From here, MM would evolve on the jangle and introspection in a way that maybe doesn’t appeal to me as much, but this is the perfect nexus of Silkworm pop and a warmer, looser, broader sound which Midyett would hereby run with. Thus, Bliss Point is essentially all I want from these SKWN-adjacent projects: a reason I’m following a bandmate from one project to the next, but then also something that makes this new project stand on its own. Tim’s lyrics also hit a sweet spot of big city tiredom and small-city heart; the music crunches and sways, giving us hooks sans Silkworm soloing, but leaving plenty of noisy wiggle room to still call this rock.

I do think all of these tracks have their place – Tim’s liner notes talk about how 4-track EPs don’t allow for any filler – but acoustic closer Youngblood is bizarre in that it feels like it ends mid-thought. It’s a really effective, minimal piece, but the way it stops short prevents full marks. Otherwise, City of Speedtraps and Park – the A- and B-side openers – are instant classics, very homespun rock, and hit more directly than anything on Mile’s debut; Bellflower shows how this sound can expand outward – slide guitar, slowed down – embracing the more emotive elements the band would start to pursue without losing its crunch.