While 2020 may not have lived up to the ‘new decade, new me’ mantra as of yet, there is always some positivity that can be found in any time of darkness. Some of the industry’s most beloved alternative bands have already stepped into the spotlight this year and released some fantastic tunes, proving that 2020 could act as an incredible platform for showcasing killer music. Now it is time to find out whether the much anticipated second LP from Milk Teeth will give them the tools to step out of the ‘breakthrough’ shadow and announce themselves on centre-stage.
This self-titled album is the first offering from the band’s refreshed line-up. Em Foster’s songwriting and musical prowess have already been incredible assets to the band since her addition in September 2018, and she is now joined by the drummer of Gold Key – Jack Kenny. They stand alongside the band’s longstanding stalwart, vocalist and bassist, Becky Blomfield – and judging by the success of the singles put out ahead of Milk Teeth, these changes were essential in blowing a breath of fresh air into the band’s sound.
Transparent, Destroyer and Given Up were the singles offered in the run-up to the release of this LP. Each of them, while very contrasting, felt to have found a winning formula. The layers that Foster’s winding guitar melodies add to the band’s sound champions the verses, while Blomfield’s aching vocals in the chorus elevates each song and leaves the hook nestled deep in the ear of the listener. Given Up, in particular, is an exceptional tune that rightly opens the album. Its skipping verses and accelerating chorus sends the mind into turmoil – it really whets the appetite for what is to come.
The pacing of Better is refreshing and feels to be very different from anything the band has released to date which, naturally, makes it a standout moment. Dilute is a grungy number that contorts as it moves through the gears and offers something more on every listen. Smoke offers a much-needed shift, showcasing a benevolent side to the band’s new sound, proving that sad songs don’t always need to sound melancholic.
While these moments are soaring highlights, the album does feel a little repetitive as it tapers to a conclusion – however, this is not necessarily a bad thing. What is on offer throughout the duration of Milk Teeth is evidence of the band growing and honing a sound they are proud of. When you look at the bigger picture, this album could be a very important platform to aid their progression. The directions they can take from here are all exciting.
Ultimately, the singles released in the run-up to this album feel to be standout tracks and are at the core of the band’s new sound: grungy, dark and addictive. It seems right that this release is self-titled as this collection of songs feels, finally, to be the sound the band have been looking for over the past six years.
Listen to Milk Teeth: