AFTER PLAYING almost weekly for about a year, the We Shared Milk have finally wrapped their debut full-length. But History of Voyager & Legend Tripping is more than the band's first album: It's a snapshot of the Portland music community, and a magnified example of why locals sometimes refer to this scene as incestuous. Each track on the album was produced by—and recorded in the home, practice space, or otherwise DIY recording studio of—a different local band, 10 in all: Talkative, Grandparents, Hustle and Drone, Support Force, Old Age, Fanno Creek, Ray Rude, Charts, And And And, and Log Across the Washer.
The band—Boone Howard (vocals/guitar), Eric Ambrosius (drums), and Travis Leipzig (bass)—came up with the concept for the album as a way to push themselves. For the most part, the We Shared Milk came to each recording session with a demo or a few riffs for a song, but there were occasions when they started empty-handed, relying on inspiration from the experience.
"The craziest example of recording in someone else's way from scratch," Howard says, "was recording in Alsea, Oregon, with Matt Ulm from Old Age. We did the whole thing on a four-track out on his property and stayed up all night. We didn't have a demo or a song written for that one, and I think it turned out to be my favorite. And the song we did with Tyler Keene of Log Across the Washer probably changed most from the demo. It was originally this punk song that turned into this washy, reverb-y, weird jam where he plays saxophone."
"Bastard," recorded by Grandparents, is the record's biggest accomplishment. The recording somehow manages to maintain the We Shared Milk's original style, yet it sounds entirely different from their previous EPs. A few warm guitar tones also help bring out the depth of Howard's vocals.
Listening to bands still in their developmental stage sometimes leads one to wonder what could happen if a band went in a particular direction. The ambitious but overall impressively cohesive History of Voyager & Legend Tripping gives us an album's worth of different answers to that question: a preview of 10 alternate futures for the We Shared Milk.