You’d be hard pressed to find a musical project that’s evolved as quickly and fluidly as Sydney’s Milkpunch. The brainchild of 20-year-old Brazilian-Australian Raf Lima, the music began as the grungey bedroom recordings of a teenage wunderkind, before melting into a sonic, psychedelic album expedition as a full-band set up on the debut record, Moonshine (2018), and now returns to its roots as a one-man, power pop extravaganza on new single ‘Where I Belong.’
Written and recorded by Lima in between shifts working as an audio-engineering intern, ‘Where I Belong’ is full of fuzzy guitar hooks, layers of harmony and sticky lyrics (“I feel it’s overlooked to care!”). There are elements of the acts he’s drawn lofty comparisons to in the past (Mac Demarco, Car Seat Headrest, Wavves), but the fullness of the production on this new track possesses moments that recall some of the all time alt rock heroes, including Weezer, They Might Be Giants and even Elliott Smith at his most playful (especially at 2:22 min when the piano kicks in outta nowhere).
‘Where I Belong’ is another brilliant cut from a lightning in a bottle career that has seen Milkpunch receive widespread support since the release of the debut EP, Junk Pop, in 2017. That record, and its undeniable hit ‘Iced Tea,’ won instant acclaim, including from the national talent discovery platform triple j Unearthed, who latched on to the pop-meets-grunge epic (or as Lima cleverly calls it, “junk pop”) with its instantly memorable chorus, and offered it plenty of support. It subsequently scored radio play from triple j, as well as community radio stations FBI, 4ZZZ and 2SER.
Write-ups from tastemakers like (the sadly defunct) Rolling Stone Australia, Monster Children and Pilerats lead to playing support for the likes of Tired Lion and Darts.
Now with yet a new sound in ‘Where I Belong’ (and a snappy new Buddy Holly meets Elvis Costello look to go with it), Lima returns with phase three of Milkpunch with a dusting more maturity, but with those same pop hooks that have seduced his fans from the outset.
With more music on the horizon, God only knows where he’ll take us next.