Milky Chance Presents “Naked And Alive”

From the moment the bass line starts, fans know exactly who they’re listening to. The sound is characteristic and immediately appealing: it’s indie rock, but there’s more than a hint of island music and disco in Phillipp Dausch’s buoyant performance. Then there’s the propulsive guitar and the danceable beats, the radiant synthesizer, and the genial voice of Clemens Rehbein, the master of ceremonies. It couldn’t be anybody but Milky Chance, back again to score the summer with another irresistible track.

“Naked and Alive,” a June breeze of a song, follows the spring release of “Reckless Child,” a gently hedonistic track that continued Milky Chance’s unbroken record of winning singles. It seems a little hard to believe given the eternal youth and energy of Dausch and Rehbein, but that streak has lasted for more than a decade. A little more than ten years ago, Milky Chance first caressed the globe with the multi-platinum “Stolen Dance” — a track that fused rock, folk, and dance music so effortlessly that it seemed hard to believe that it hadn’t been done quite like that before. Theirs was a sound ahead of its time, and since “Stolen Dance,” countless bands have tried to bottle the same magic. A few have come close. But nobody has ever matched the original.

The warmth of the new singles suggest that the German group’s fifth album will be its most engaging yet. Experiments in sound and songwriting conducted on the quietly provocative Living in a Haze [2023] have come to gorgeous fruition on “Naked and Alive,” a clever composition that preserves all of the elements that have made Milky Chance such an appealing band to follow while stepping out in sunny new directions. Though they’ve never been a gloomy pair, they’ve never sounded quite as optimistic as they do right now. They’ve got everything to sing for — and this is Milky Chance reborn.

That exuberance extends to the playful clip for “Naked and Alive.” Under a high summer sky, the members of Milky Chance take to the track to train for the Olympics. Never mind that they’re not exactly digging into the dirt with the determination of athletic champions: they’re hitting their marks and attaining their goals anyway. They’re getting the gold and they’re hardly even breaking a sweat. No better metaphor for the band’s easygoing innovation and astonishing accomplishments could ever be captured on camera.

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