This latest full-length from Italian producer Daniele Luppi is being released through Danger Mouse’s label, 30th Century Recordings, and according to the man himself is supposed to serve as a spiritual successor to ‘Rome’, the 2010 record that he and the Broken Bells knob-twiddler previously collaborated on. That album was intended as a panoramic tribute to Italian film scores and, accordingly, it’s difficult to envision that the ideal bedfellows this time out would be Brooklyn upstarts Parquet Courts. Sure enough, ‘Milano’ is a decidedly ramshackle affair sonically; it’s worth noting that Karen O features on four of its nine tracks, and that ‘Talisa’ and ‘The Golden Ones’ cast her vocals against some of the scratchiest punk instrumentation they’ve been surrounded by since Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Show Your Bones’ - or maybe even ‘Fever to Tell’.
Still, that’s not to say that the lyrical themes that Daniele was aiming for aren’t delivered. The record plays in some ways like an anthology of stories, all of which are tied together by their links to the art scene in Milan in the eighties. ‘Milano’ doesn’t come with the cinematic sensibilities or the polish that ‘Rome’ did, but its sheer boisterousness and rough-and-ready sonic approach does justice to the underground movement that it aims to serve as homage to - Austin Brown’s guitar work, in particular, is a major driving force in that respect, by turns slinky (‘Flush’), sunny (‘Pretty Prizes) and bluesy (‘Lanza’). Closer ‘Café Flesh’ is a clumsy, cluttered way to finish, but ‘Milano’ is by and large a testament not only to Luppi’s narrative ambition, but his skill in hand-picking the best musicians to realise his vision.