Highly anticipated debuts usually come at a price, but for Milk Teeth, paying little in adventurous endeavour leaves them emerging slightly let down by their finished product.
The Bristol genre-hopping outfit have tweaked and tuned their own brand of nonchalance to forge ‘Vile Child’ into a debut of two halves – a clean melodic fraction driven by frontlady Becky Blomfield and its antithesis charged by now ex-screamer and guitarist Josh Bannister. Misguided middle partings, nonchalant nods and fed up flannel shirts at the ready, Milk Teeth’s unique adaptation of a number of ‘90s grunge, alt-rock and punk influences produce a discombobulated record to set heads scratching.
Opening with the grunge chaos of ‘Brickwork’, their existential ponderings culminate with Josh’s riled cries, “If you run with scissors, you’ll get what you deserve, watch your footing my dear, or you may just disappear.” ‘Driveway Birthday’ showcases Becky’s vocal versatility amid an ethereal atmosphere, offset neatly by the drawling reluctance of ‘Burger Drop’, firmly establishing a trend of short, snappy tracks that don’t outstay their welcome.
The opening feedback is perhaps the most coherent aspect of ‘Brain Food’, despite its racing tempo and the whining of Chris’ fretwork. With acoustic melancholy, ‘Swear Jar (again)’ presents a drowsy dialogue between both vocals. Don’t be fooled though, as ‘Get A Clue’s drastic contrasting tempo launches you right out of your skin, as Josh’s gut-wrenching wails take centre stage. It’s a transition not approached professionally or at all considerately, which lets them down considerably. Filled with the swirling ‘Moon Wanderer’ and the misguided key in which ’Kabuki’ is conducted, it seems the halfway house became an acoustic afterthought.
Enormous credit is due to drummer Olly for punching through ‘Crows Feet’ and leading the grunge drone of ’Leona’. With anguished screams aplenty, the racing ‘Cut You Up’ and the contemplative drawl of ’Sunbaby’ demonstrate a raw punk vitality that probably should’ve been present throughout.
Had this been a more structured, thought-out debut, Milk Teeth would have begun on the right foot, however ‘Vile Child’ emerges as a testament to their indecision on what to do with all their talent.
’Vile Child’ by Milk Teeth is released on 29th January on Hopeless Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)