The line,“I don’t give a fuck about the first place ribbons / I need, more than that,” on the track “Lavender Chunks,” essentially sums up Milo‘s anti-rapper persona, proving he’s still an emcee that favors substance. Since 2010, under his moniker Milo, Rory Ferreira has been painstakingly crafting shrewd rhymes with bohemian beats that easily warrant the “experimental” tag. Scallops Hotel is Ferreira’s side project that doesn’t stray too far from his work as Milo, delving into slightly darker sounds while wittily wrestling with existentialism as usual.
From the onset, Plain Speaking is sparsely dense with minimal reliance on instrumentation. On the opener “Gnosis, Black Nationalism, Rice,” Ferreira dishes philosophical assessments on his loyal fan base, race, and blaming a higher power for a friend’s passing over jazzy keyboard samples and moody bass patterns making for atmospheric undercurrents. Future Islands frontman, Sam Herring under his moniker, Hemlock Ernst, makes an appearance on “Lavender Chunks,” briskly dropping bars over a skimpy synth loop. The glitchy electronics can feel jarring at times, but yet still feel organic and inviting, even to the newest of Milo fans. The record jumps into bleaker soundscapes like with the ominous bass-powered “Tense Present” and eerie-synth-led “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” where he’d imagine himself saying “life is hopeless and finicky” on said show.
Plain Speaking maybe an outlier in Ferreira’s already impressive output under Milo, but despite being abstract and spastic, its just as inviting as his most accessible material.