The Little Mill of Happiness
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The Little Mill of Happiness

Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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Little Mill of Happiness have continued to grow in stature over the year, consolidated by their EP release that everybody,including ourselves can’t help but pile praise on. Having never seen them on the big stage (I think the last time was when they supported BSP), the sound of Steve Obern chords tore through the hall. ‘Article of Faith’ was a great example of the talent on offer, you couldn’t do more than listen.

Certainly achieving the most talked about set of the night, even before Steve’s advice “if you’re going to have children,make sure you teach them how to smoke crack properly”. This is proper grown up intense music, superbly orchestrated, a musical experience that grows on you.

Day one over, the evening was relentless, with the mix of genres offering some respite, however a little time to digest the sets may not have gone amiss. For us it was The Litttle Mill of Happiness that stuck out, taking full advantage of the showcase, and blowing us away in the process.

- Chris Lemon

Over the last year I have seen The Little Mill of Happiness play in both a festival setting, Belladrum, and on the stage and on the floor at the Ironworks. Tonight for their EP launch they were using the more intimate surroundings of Ig:lu on Church Street.

For those that aren’t familiar with Ig:lu, it is a petite arts venue up on third floor above MacEwens of Perth. When I say third floor this is a bit of an estimate as the flights of stairs, and corresponding landings, appeared eternal and judging by the humour tinged notices along the way it should have been expected. Having scaled the heights I made my way into the room, no bigger than a decent sized living room, to join the crowd gathered for the launch. The room itself was decked out with a nautical theme, reflecting the EPs title, Capsized Sailors. There were projections of portholes with stormy seas, and behind where the band was to play a backdrop of projected slides of shipwreck paintings from the Romantic era.

The set itself was in two parts. The first half being acoustic in nature was also a collection of new songs. Although an acoustic set could have been challenging to a band as full on as TLMOH, a deftness of touch filtered through the repertoire, aided by the size of the room and a generally attentive audience. As an introduction to some new material it didn’t match the storminess of the marine art that surrounded us and the band charted these less choppy waters with ease, giving a glimpse of their future course.

The second half brought us the more familiar tracks, including those on the début EP. Any concerns about the beefed up sound playing havoc with the rooms dimensions were quickly allayed and a powerful set gave us all good reason to pick up a copy of the aforementioned EP. Steve Obern’s stern vocal matches well with the bands uncompromising powerful tide. Never for the faint-hearted, there are, though, touches of glam especially in ‘Drying Out Wishbones’. Yes, glam, never gloom despite the dark foreboding feel to their standard, and set ender,’ Cold Blooded Revelry at Whitsun’. Always quick to make a highbrow reference, tonight being Noam Chomsky (note for Left4Dead fans that’s not a spelling mistake), cerebral as well as musical, TLMOH are cutting deep into the psyche of the Inverness music scene, creating with a little help from the visual art tonight, a perfect storm.

by Frank Finlayson

- Frank Finlayson

The Little Mill of Happiness are something of a local supergroup, featuring members of The Lush Rollers, Shutter and Abagail Grey amongst others, and perhaps unsurprisingly, delivered the stand-out set of the evening.

TLMOH boast a potent combination of killer guitar lines and intriguingly moody lyrical themes which are thought-provoking, compelling and instantly cool. Their material is also impeccably arranged in places, ensuring the treble guitar parts remained complementary throughout.

Their influences are fairly explicit, recalling a number of fine acts from Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr to Teenage Fanclub and Wilco amongst others, but they skilfully manage to retain a refreshing originality which is bold, coherent and powerful.

In terms of material, Article of Faith was particularly impressive; it’s a deeply lyrical, musically blistering track which is simply fantastic.

The musicianship was of a predictably high standard and frontman Steve Obern is an engaging presence in possession of a robust, at times snarling and visceral vocal style which is intense, sincere and completely credible. TLMOH crackle with genuine promise.

© Alexander Smith, 2011 - Northings


Capsized Sailors - EP - 2011



The Little Mill of Happiness formed outside the Market Bar, Inverness after sharing a mutual love of Pavement, Tom Waits, The Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. The members of the Mill have all enjoyed success in their respective bands; however the focus with the Mill was to bring together their individual sounds into one entity.

Vocalist Steve Obern’s unique voice brings these songs to life, whether it be from a delicate whisper to a guttural yell. The 3 “guitar orchestra” of Matt Campbell, Pete MacDonald and Willie Macaskill assure that the sound is layered and thick, ranging from dirty grunge riffs to picked melodies. This is all backed up by the confident bass of Ali Brown and drummer Craig Aitkenhead.

The band have recently released their debut EP 'Capsized Sailors' which has received positive feedback.

The Little Mill of Happiness were also one of the featured artists on HAIL Music’s direct to industry Download Card for 2011 which was promoted at key events across the globe.