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Ben Millburn and Sunglass Moustache band – Photo Credit: Andrew Bennett
Sunglass Moustache, which came out mid-September, is a psychedelic record from Austin-dwelling, Louisiana native Ben Millburn. It is also the name of the musicians and artists in his band and on his team. They’ve just returned from a lengthy U.S. tour.
The band made the record in and around Austin, Texas at Church House (Robert Plant, Eddie Vedder, Black Angels) and Good Danny’s (Okkervil River, White Denim) studios. Millburn co-produced the record with producer and member of Sunglass Moustache, Panama Grant.
This full-length debut is at times poppy, progressive, psychedelic, cosmic, Texan, funky, bluesy, melodic, driving, and visceral. It builds on the promise shown in Millburn’s self released EPs which drew comparisons to the likes of Kurt Vile and Matthew Sweet.
The wider influences of this new record range from the progressive music of Talking Heads, Can and Frank Zappa to songwriters such as John Lennon and Jim James. The album’s lyrical themes range from ego and indignation to acceptance and power. It moves from abstract addresses from the throne to reflections on guns in his native Southern Louisiana.
Coupled with the LP are 11 music videos, one for each song. Each video written and directed by Millburn and acted, edited, and shot by different members of Sunglass Moustache. “The videos tell the story of Mr. Tuxedo and his rise and reign in power. He gets help – or was it hurt, I can’t remember – from the other characters, Mustang Billy and Mr. Taco, along the way.”, explains Millburn.
The Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the last storytelling video for the album’s narrative music video arc. “For You” is the second to last song on the album, but the video for the LP’s final song will just be a run of the end credits.
“For You” is a bluesy Americana tune that moves from a laid-back groove to a stirring ending, all tracked with Millburn’s sharp and plaintive vocals.
Millburn goes more in-depth about the meaning behind the album’s string of videos, revealing, “The videos show a fast forwarding of Mr. Tuxedo’s early life (“I Feel Something”) through a series of images meant to hit the eye the same way that memories hit the mind. We then see what the setting of his rise to power looks like and feels like on an aesthetic and emotional level (“Mr. Tuxedo”).
“He then rises to power through his sheer superiority over everyone (“Call Me King”) only to quickly be exposed for his weaknesses (“ABCD”). He breaks out of the prison of his own making and escapes to the terrifying desert of self examination and ego swordsmanship (“Isayuletit”). Mustang Billy is less able to control the constant barrage of attacks from Ego and the Truth as they make their journey. However, Mustang Billy has a clearer view of what is going on but lacks the ability to capitalize.”
“Mr. Tuxedo is then shown the perspective of life outside of his existence (“Mr. Taco”) and must contemplate the severity of the past (“Shoot It”). He falls asleep and places himself at the forefront of the world’s crisis (“The Beat”) as his ego begins to counter attack under the cover of the early stages of sleep.”
“He then falls into a deep dream (“Sunglass Moustache”) where his thoughts move from associations with the tangible to abstract impulses.”
“He wakes up the next morning and does what he worked all those years to be able to do. He sets in motion a series of events, which allow him to both control the process and enjoy the results of an economic experience. He uses the bold and naive – Mustang Billy – as well as the pure and idealistic – Mr. Taco – as agents in his process at various stages. He eventually turns them against each other when the time is right. After the struggle he collects the rewards of this process while leaving Mustang Billy battered and bruised. Mr. Tuxedo gives him with a modest tip for his troubles (“For You”).”
“Mr. Tuxedo then retires for a weekend on the lake where he hopes that the movement of that water can erase the memory of what happened along the way.”
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