You could be forgiven for thinking that Brisbane's swoonsome popsters had taken to chilling a little too much - since the double-whammy punch of their introductory 2012 EP's "Nine Lives, Six Degrees" and "Cruel", we've barely heard a peep from the lads. But behind the scenes it's been a case of constant writing and re-writing, jamming and tweaking the songs for their eagerly-awaited debut album (and just a little bit of heated arguing too). The band have popped their heads up from time to time, road-testing and refining their tunes on national tours with San Cisco, Peace and The Jungle Giants. And now finally, here it is - the debut album "Max Relax" - titled as guitarist Ted Tilbrook says, "After the colloquial term for what we all say we do with our lives outside of the band."
Apart from its name, the record's contents are anything but complacent. Spearheaded by juicy first single "Clementine", which Channel V frothed "has frenetic jangly guitar work and delicious vocals harmonies" - "Max Relax" is a confident, wide-eyed collection of songs that belies the outfit's relative youthfulness and bursts with exuberant guitar-pop, topped off with frontman Dominic Haddad's velvety croons.
Millions decamped to London in late 2013 to craft the record they'd spent so long working towards and dreaming about. To get the album in shape, they called in a family favour and enlisted UK legend Glenn Tilbrook as producer. Not only a founder of 1980's Brit hitmakers Squeeze ("Cool For Cats, Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), Up The Junction") but also the father of Millions' guitarist Ted and drummer Louis, Glenn and the band spent six weeks tracking and mixing at his own 45RPM Studios in Greenwich. With a treasure-trove of musical instruments at their disposal, Millions managed to augment their set-up - with organ, vibraphone, omnichord and even an electric sitar all sneaking their way onto the recordings. They also found time to sneak out of the studio for a few select UK gigs, including a dream-come-true support slot for Babyshambles.
On their return home, the boys took the mixes to Melbourne producer Andrei Eremin (Chet Faker, Rat & Co) for further polishing, and are now thrilled to share the finished product with the world.
For a band made up of self-confessed music nerds, "Max Relax" manages to tick a lot of Millions' recent favourites and go-to touchstones ... while at the same time sounding utterly unique.
There's the skyscraping rock textures of Tame Impala and Smith Westerns ("Daydreaming"), and the cascading noodling of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Mac DeMarco ("Unchained"). Also in check is the stomping beat-pop of The Beatles and Phil Spector ("Always"), as well as the heartbreak waltzes of Big Star and Elliott Smith ("B Chill").
"Max Relax" is an album crafted by music lovers, for music lovers - from the speeding-up trippiness of opener "Writing On The Wall", down to the last drop of clifftop guitar histrionics on closing track "Good Things Never Last". And all the while, its sonic lushness is augmented by Dom's confessional lyrics of heart-on-sleeve doubts and desires, of love longed-for and lost.
The band are now ready and raring to take their debut album to stages across Australia and overseas. They'll be hitting the road in September on a national run with labelmates Ball Park Music, and also have some special shows of their own announced last week. Get ready for the tracks from "Max Relax" - Millions have got this.