What’s not to like about this album? Climbing mountains, dying on mountains, falling off mountains, frostbite, hallucinations, listening to trees, running into a moose on a motorbike, and surviving ‘normal’ life.

Seven summits is, of course, named after the practise of attempting the highest peak on each continent. What Milagres, an Indie / Rock / Pop outfit from Brooklyn, NY, brings to this album is an atmospheric journey through some of the many things that go through your mind on a big peak, the things that can happen up there, and then the sometimes hard path of going back to the normalness of life when you’re back down, living far below ‘amongst the tiny trees’. Formerly known as the Secret Life of Sophia, this is the band’s third album to date and was originally a very small scale print run CD (500 copies).  It features some great insights into the thin air reality of high mountains, interspaces it with the routineness of day-to-life and work grind, passes through some transcendence, then finally ends back in normal life once more after the 7 summits, where, as on a mountain, one’s friends might need to arrange a rescue, this one at 27 feet rather than 20,000, as we wander through the ‘strange new wilderness’ of modern life.

There is such a great depth of existential observation about the aloneness and strangeness of the world – something that can be so stark out in the elements of snow, rock and sky, but it’s not bleak or depressing. I love ‘Evidence’, it makes me think of many a long descent down a gravel valley after a big effort on a peak, the moraine dragging on forever as you stagger back to camp, as ‘everything unfolds before your very worn soul’.

But there is the memory, too about being on the mountain (from ‘Dead Trees’):

“When i was finally there

all there was was air

and a view of the moon

peering through folds of grey,

singing like a bird in space”

A couple of the songs, though lovely and poignant, are a bit inscrutable without some extra explanation, but yield some great lines: “corn grew like weeds where he had wept”.

The reason it seemed salient to do a review now is because this 2008 album has just had a digital release, meaning its now accessible to a whole new range of potential fans. So if you’re interested in hypothermia induced dreams and tents flapping in the wind, and don’t mind a bit of Indie Pop, then this ones for you.

Check them out here:

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And they have a new album coming soon …