Milk Teeth – ‘Milk Teeth’

By Andy Joice

Sophomore albums are often the most difficult records to release. Was the debut album a fluke, or do the band have the ability to improve and develop their sound? Fortunately for Milk Teeth, they’re firmly in the latter camp with their latest self-titled record. Featuring an almost entirely new lineup to that on their 2015 debut, vocalist and bassist Becky Blomfield remains the only founding member – bringing in guitarist Em Foster and drummer Jack Kenny, both also of Nervus.

It would be easy to assume their style has moved more towards Nervus than Milk Teeth, and while there is a definite hint of borrowed sound, it’s more a seasoning than a full ingredient. In reality, it’s Blomfield that provides enough difference for them to be separated. with her vocals soaring above pounding basslines and rousing drum patterns throughout.

From the outset of album opener ‘Given Up’, it’s clear where ‘Milk Teeth’ is heading. Venomous in its message, Blomfield spits the chorus “it’s too late, I’ve given up on you” with such heat, it could boil a saucepan of much valued pasta in seconds. Punchy instrumentation perfectly accompanies the powerful vocals, with the bassline moving the track forwards with ease.

Single ‘Better’ was written at a time Blomfield “didn’t know how [she’d] keep going”, and the strained and pained chorus perfectly resonates with the sentiment. While any sort of relationship breakdown is difficult, the chorus of “I deserve better / you can’t be better” is weirdly uplifting. Fundamentally, the message is that we all deserve better, and any sort of negative poison should rightly be traded for positivity.

The real selling point of ‘Milk Teeth’ is the layered harmonies between Blomfield and Foster. Standout example of their duelling vocals are found in ‘Transparent’ and ‘Sharks’, with each being both distinctive and separate, yet melding together to create a wholly unique sound. While the former is a love song to bettering yourself and features a driving bassline, ‘Sharks’ is heavily distorted, almost frantic in its delivery with Kenny’s crashing drums filling any moment of muted quietness.

Closing with possibly the strongest three track combination of the year, ‘Smoke’, ‘Circles’, and ‘Wanna Be’ are openly frank, with Blomfield sounding her tenderest. With Foster harmonising through each verse, the emotional depth is at its peak with vocals taking front and centre. ‘Circles’ is reminiscent of The Breeders and Kim Deal led Pixies, with delicate guitar parts resonating throughout the verses while the rhythms lead the general tone of the track. It’s a track that could cause both happy and sad tears to fall, dependant on the listeners mood at that particular time.

‘Milk Teeth’ is a clear depiction of where Milk Teeth are headed. They’ve ironed out the cracks, and if they can keep this line up together, there’s no doubt they’ll be as successful on the circuit as Nervus are. With the added levels both Foster and Kenny bring to the table, there’s no limit to what can be achieved. Heartfelt, punchy, and downright fucking catchy, this is an album that deserves repeat listening – whether you plan to or not.

ANDY JOICE

Three more album reviews for you

COPE - 'THE SHOCK DOCTRINE'

Naked Next Door - 'Swerving Out Wide'

Non Canon - 'Non Canon II'