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Milk Teeth - Be Nice (Album Review)

Friday, 04 August 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

When people compare your band to Nirvana, Sonic Youth and the Pixies, you should probably realise you're on to something half-decent. Milk Teeth have taken this on board and, instead of becoming a carbon copy of the bands they reference or going all out viking death metal in an attempt to distance themselves from their influences, they've found the hallowed middle ground.

'Be Nice', the quartet's first release since signing to Roadrunner Records, takes that hyperbole on the chin and balances it there. A giant riff (basically Nirvana by the seaside) opens Owning Your Okayness, with vocalist Becky Blomfield moving between stark anxiety and a triumphant cry of "I like being with you!", which creates an angsty, wonderfully catchy call-to-arms.

Nothing's cloaked in metaphors here. This is a tale of youth well-spent and the consequences that brings; a romance as barbed as the EP's front cover. And that's before the chomping, gnashing climax of noise-rock bliss.

That's arguably Milk Teeth's strongest asset on 'Be Nice': they know life isn't all smiles and laughter. In fact, it's a load of shit with a few dregs of sunshine and a flaccid rainbow along the way.

Duly, Blomfield's subdued, almost menacing basslines on Prism’s verses set the tone for its almighty finale. "I feel nothing but pity for you,” she sings. “I feel nothing." It’s gloriously catchy but sadder than Up.

Over these four tracks, Milk Teeth follow a pretty simple formula: get in with the verse, smack 'em with the hook, maybe do a loud bit in the middle then turbocharge that last chorus, just in case anyone forgets how great it is. New guitarist and co-vocalist Billy Hutton fits right in and does fine work by yelling his way through Fight Skirt, adding an Architects-worthy "Bleh!" to boot.

Over this very short 12-or-so minutes, Milk Teeth build on what's already brilliant about them. There are poppy hooks and dirty garage noise, but with closing track Hibernate we get something else entirely. The fragile first half is raw as you'll get. There's nothing held back as Blomfield details her worries with heart and bloody-minded conviction.

Once the slabs of electric guitar elbow their way into the mix and that solo arrives, Milk Teeth are set on an almost progressive rock exit from 'Be Nice'. It's a stunning end to a stunning record, a jar of complex racket stored in a cupboard of immediate hits. It's the best song they've released thus far and everything youthful, exuberant rock music should be, but taken a mile or so further.

With last year's debut album, 'Vile Child', Milk Teeth let everyone know there was still life in this genre yet. It was a throwback to the '90s without being dated one bit. But with 'Be Nice', and particularly Hibernate, the band have expanded their modus operandi. There's another EP along the way later this year, but the thought of a full-length from this band on this form...excited does the feeling a disservice.

Milk Teeth Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri August 04 2017 - LONDON Borderline

Click here to compare & buy Milk Teeth Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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