Album Review

Milly Raccoon - Frankincense and Myrrh

Charming, delightful, heartwarming - find your own adjective to apply after hearing Milly Raccoon’s sweetly scented Frankincense and Myrrh.

Milly Raccoon - Frankincense & Myrrh Album Cover
July 3, 2023 11:16 am GMT

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Milly Raccoon - Frankincense and Myrrh

Label: Self-Released

Release Date: July 7, 2023

Producer: Misa Arriaga

Tracklisting:

  1. The Fine Art of Takin’ It Slow
  2. Walk Down The Stairs
  3. Perséphone La Rousse
  4. Las Abuelitas del Arcoíris
  5. This Ancient Love
  6. Offering To The Fae
  7. That Girl I Left Behind Me
  8. Fiddler’s Prayer
  9. I’m Gonna Feed You
  10. Complicated Gifts

Charming, delightful, heartwarming - find your own adjective to apply after hearing Milly Raccoon’s sweetly scented Frankincense and Myrrh.

It’s been a long and winding road that’s led the colorfully named Raccoon to Nashville; one that’s touched on such diverse styles as bluegrass, honky-tonk, Cajun, Irish, Mexican, South American, even Turkish and Egyptian sounds, all before landing on the eclecticism of these ten primarily acoustic songs.

The opening tunes are driven by Patsy Cline-esque vocal inflections, as Raccoon exudes a cool countrypolitan vibe on ‘The Fine Art of Takin’ It Slow’ and the smooth, supple ‘Walk Down the Stairs’.

The latter is a lovely, if regretful, ballad bemoaning the protagonist’s lack of confidence to connect with a romantic interest. If she had continued in that vein for the remainder of the album, this would still be an impressive collection from an up-and-coming talent.

But rather than follow that approach, the ambitious Raccoon shifts into more lighthearted, playful tones, particularly on the instrumental ‘Las Abuelitas del Arcoiris’, complete with a flute solo and Lillie Mae Riche’s lively fiddle.

Raccoon displays her own accomplished violin skills as she taps into Acadia on the record’s other instrumental, ‘Fiddler’s Prayer’, before skipping through a sweet, childlike ramble on ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’. The latter title masks a darker message of losing youthful innocence as you age, while its creative stop-action animated video captures the song’s spirited and gloomier qualities.

Raccoon sings in French for the airy ‘Persephone La Rousse’, its translation revealing a murky psychological exploration; “I am once again with another man / I am once again “the other woman’. We head into British folk on ‘Offering to the Fae’, welcoming cello and tablas for a unique world music mix.

‘I’m Gonna Feed You’, about tending to a baby, not surprisingly tiptoes into nursery rhyme territory with its lithe clarinet solo (when is the last time you heard that in a pop song?) and the affectionate lyrics “If you follow your nose, you will come to / A person so simple to love”.

The closing ‘Complicated Gifts’ coalesces around aspects of Harry Nilsson at his most innocent, adding another clarinet, two melotrons, glockenspiel (also credited to Raccoon) and a surprising F-bomb. You go girl.

On paper, this may seem precious and/or precocious. Raccoon’s enchanting voice and the music’s striking, often whimsical lilt dismisses any hints of that. Rather, she encourages us to join her on these explorations and inhale some of the esoteric musical fragrances that make Frankincense and Myrrh such an enticing release. 

7.5 / 10

Milly Raccoon's 2023 album, Frankincense and Myrrh, is released July 7, 2023.

For more on Milly Raccoon, see below:

Written by Hal Horowitz
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