Milk Teeth have always been a band that greatly interest me. Hailing from Stroud, the bombastic punk outfit initially grabbed my attention with their EP Sad Sack, a collection of six pounding tracks that call back to the era of grunge, paying homage to bands such as Mudhoney and L7.
Their most recent effort, Vile Child continues on this trend. Kicking off with fast-paced lead single ‘Brickwork’, the track sees the band take on elements from other genres such as shoegaze and modern-day emo. These styles are further heightened on the following track ‘Driveway Birthday’, with frontwoman Becky Blomfeld’s vocal meanderings complementing a guitar line that wouldn’t be out of place on a Basement or Citizen record.
‘Burger Drop’ presents itself as a more straightforward track that to me served as a reminder of the band’s grunge influences, whereas the heavier tracks ‘Brain Food’ and ‘Get a Clue’ seem to function as a callback to the more abrasive sound of their earlier output on Sad Sack and Smiling Politely. The inclusion and treatment of a rerecording of one of their oldest songs, ‘Swear Jar’ – originally on the Smiling Politely EP – is interesting, with the cleaner production of Vile Child giving the old song somewhat of a new twist.
Amongst the album’s highlights include the hauntingly atmospheric ‘Moon Wanderer’ and the more upbeat ‘Crows Feet’. The ambience of the guitars in the latter feel similar to the sound on albums such as Title Fight’s Hyperview or Supherheaven’s Ours is Chrome, and tracks such as ‘Leona’ pit this flavour with the harsh backing vocals of Chris Webb, creating a soundscape that reminded me of Basement’s seminal colourmeinkindness. The album’s finale, ‘Sunbaby’, is a well-crafted blend of atmosphere and aggression that to me sums up the combination of hard-hitting grunge and the softer influences of emo and shoegaze that Milk Teeth tried to assimilate.
Overall, Vile Child is definitely an album I would recommend. Although for much of this album, the visceral grunge aesthetic that patterned Milk Teeth’s earlier releases has been padded down with softer elements. This could show their desire to mature their style, and Vile Child is a natural progression from the sound that initially caught my attention last year.
Zygmund de Somogyi