In the ’90s, local band The Millions were nearing a big breakthrough.
After recording two albums and touring packed venues, the band broke up just as they were garnering major success. Many were left to wonder what might have happened had the group stayed together. Could that major break actually have come through?
Despite being apart for nearly two decades, the band recently reunited and played their first show at The Bouborn.
Along with their reunion, the band has also released “Poison Fish,” an album composed of 21 unreleased tracks recorded in 1990 before their debut album, “M is for Million.”
The instant the album begins, it’s evident that the early ’90s is tightly woven into “Poison Fish.” From the shaky but strong vocals to the heavy use of cymbals, the band immediately lets you know what decade this album was recorded in.
This clarity does not change as the album goes on. Though at first The Millions’ distinct sound is a fresh change from modern-day music, by the time you reach track 14, you begin to fear there isn’t much variety on this album. Many of the songs blend into one another and sometimes lyrics are even indistinguishable.
The first part of the album does have its standouts, however. The title track, “Poison Fish,” showcases the talent of both the band and vocalist Lori Allison. It’s hard to imagine this song not becoming popular among alternative music fans 20 years ago. The acoustic song, “The River,” also delivers both lyrically and vocally.
Once the later part of the album arrives, however, there is a welcome change. From the strange, but beautiful “Agnus Dei,” to the slightly dark “No. 5,” “Poison Fish,” becomes much more pleasing when The Millions change things up.
Allison’s fierce voice leads the way on most songs. Her voice seems as though it was destined to be known alongside those of Natalie Merchant and Belinda Carlisle.
Though “Poison Fish” is filled with solid ’90s tracks, the range for the audience is minimal. Fans of ’90s alternative music will likely find the album enjoyable, but modern Top-40 aficionados might find themselves alienated.
The true interest of “Poison Fish” lies within the band itself, as one is left to wonder what The Millions might have become had they stayed together.