Like R. Stevie Moore or Martin Newell, Scott Miller is a cult artist. Hailed as a genius by his devotees, dismissed as too quirky or simply unheard by most others, his pop craftsmanship soldiers on, blithely ignoring trends. Miller made six remarkable records with his previous band, Game Theory, and Attractive Nuisance is his sixth with The Loud Family, and it, like all the others, is melodically masterful, structurally dense, and lyrically arcane. Pop music for pop music scholars.
The affordability of quality home recording equipment has freed Miller almost completely from music-biz structure, which is just how he wants it. “I don’t want anyone drumming up support here/I don’t want Capitol whispering in my ear” he coos in “Soul D.C.”, which later drops the magic words “willful obscurity”. Elsewhere, hooks jump out from dark corners, verse-chorus-bridge structure is sliced and diced like a Ginsu chopping veggies, songs stop in mid-gallop and reverse field, and Miller’s string of brilliant/hilarious song titles continues: “No One’s Watching My Limo Ride” and “720 Times Happier Than the Unjust Man”.
Like most cult acts, Miller’s work is best measured against itself, and on that scale, Attractive Nuisance ranks with its’ two immediate predecessors, Interbabe Concern (‘96) and Days For Days (‘98) as The Family’s finest. Aside from keyboardist Alison Faith Levy’s dreadful “The Apprentice”, Miller composed all or part of every song, and his skill is now so keenly developed that his influences (unlike the distinct Big Star footprint on early Game Theory recordings) are invisible. Capable of stretching the pop form to accommodate all of his subtlety, anger, humor or surrealism, Scott Miller may be better than ever. Did I mention he was a genius?
Time Out New York, 2000