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Single Review: 'Philomela' by Brodie Milner

Leeds-based Brodie Milner has brought a lot of talking points to the table with his latest single ‘Philomela’, a song I can only describe as dark indie-folk music with a distinct battle cry against rape culture and its offenders in the lyrics.

Photo Credit: Stewart Baxter

The song begins with a very melancholy guitar riff reminiscent of Ben Howard or Bear’s Den - it’s fast-paced but with the underlying feeling of running through the woods from your fears. This works so well to set the scene for the poetic nature of the lyrics that Brodie Milner has created in this song.

Never have I felt the need to do an in-depth reading of Greek mythology for a review before now! Milner does an excellent job of storytelling these myths to fit the narrative, representing the deadliness of silencing victims of rape and rape culture and the empowerment of finally beginning to tell your story.

He centers the song around the story of Philomela, the sister-in-law of a Thracian king who cut her tongue so she couldn’t speak of his atrocities against her. However, she told her story through the use of a tapestry she wove in defiance of her censorship.

Without picking up a history book, some of the lyrics particularly hit me, such as:

“How we long for the day you take your privilege and find its command fade as it lays flaccid in your hand.”

The writing of Brodie Milner is almost Shakespearean in its nature, poetic and full of very obvious innuendo to make a statement. This particular line is a call to any powerful figure using that power to take advantage of others, and as he sings it, the power of the drum beat, guitar and vocals push that deep into your core.

The instrumental of ‘Philomela’ is almost as impressive as Milner’s lyricism - it gradually builds up with a very beautiful plucked guitar riff running throughout, steadily introducing a simple but forceful drum beat until it hits its peak nearing the end of the song. I particularly enjoy how complementary the instrumental and the vocals are, neither overpowering the other throughout the song, allowing the listener to take each element in its stride.

The ending of the song is a loud crescendo of music which cuts out abruptly, which comes across as incredibly succinct symbolism about silence. Milner has told us the stories and made noise about rape culture, and then has been silenced unexpectedly, much like Philomela in the myth.

Overall, I was moved by Brodie Milner’s latest single - as a fan of this style of music, I knew I was in for a treat as soon as the guitar began, but I didn’t realise just how powerful his lyrical talent was going to be! I look forward to seeing what else Milner has to offer, but in the meantime I’ll be putting ‘Philomela’ on my playlists to listen on repeat.

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