Milk Teeth – Vile Child
In 1992 Kurt Cobain wore a t-shirt saying ‘grunge is dead’. It was a prophetic sign of things to come. By 1994 the Nirvana front man was dead, and Seattle’s other big three grunge bands (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains) were struggling to cope with their success and/or the effects of drink and drugs.
Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, soldiered on and shortly after her husband’s death released ‘Live Through This’ with her band Hole. After that her musical style reflected different influences, and that it seemed was that for grunge.
So, how is all this relevant to the debut album from Gloucestershire rockers Milk Teeth? Well, if Courtney Love is the queen of grunge then Becky Blomfield is her natural heir.
This album, more than any other in the last twenty years, demonstrates that Cobain’s t-shirt was simply a sojourn in irony. Not that this release is a trip down grunge memory lane, it’s more of a natural progression. In fact Milk Teeth are perhaps best described as a post grunge punk pop band with a Cotswolds twist.
Becky Blomfield is an interesting character. The diminutive bassist/singer is part Courtney Love, part Ann Wilson (of Seattle rockers Heart) and part Lemmy. She’s a talented songwriter with an acerbic wit, check out her Huffington Post article titled: ‘More Than Just a Pair of Tits’.
Milk Teeth’s album itself is a tour de force of great songs. The opening track ‘Brickwork’ typifies the grunge pop feel with screaming lyrics and a catchy chorus. The second track ‘Driveway Birthday’ takes a slower pace and has a lovely melodic flow to it. Further down the track list is ‘Brain Food’, undoubtedly the grungiest song on the album with its pounding riff and pulsating drum beat. The lyrics are full of references to angst and frustration, the meat and veg of many a good rock song over the years.
Next up is ‘Swear Jar (Again)’. The simple structure belies a song deep in emotion. The drop D guitar tuning at the beginning and the straightforward delivery of the lyrics gets your attention straight away. The song then opens up to an expanse of guitars and bass which carry it aloft. What a belter.
Other stand out tracks include ‘Moon Wanderer’ which has a dark brooding feel to it, ‘Kabuki’ which wouldn’t sound out of place on Nirvana’s unplugged album, and ‘Sunbaby’ which has a dreamlike feel reminiscent of the Deftones ‘Minerva’.
Rock music seems to have been casting around for a new hero for some time now, and in doing so it has lurched from industrial metal to Fall Out Boy. Milk Teeth could be the band to re-centre rock music, bringing it back to something pure in form and authentic in sound.
If Kurt Cobain were alive today, he might just wear a t-shirt saying ‘grunge was dead – all hail Milk Teeth’