Monday, June 20, 2011
REVIEW: Milk Maid - Yucca
This Manchester, UK group seems an appropriate subject for a blog that takes its name from Guided By Voices, because the crunchy DIY indie rock of Milk Maid seems to me to be a good fit with Bob Pollard's musical sweet spot. The hooky melodies and guitar driven sound of their impressive debut release, Yucca, have drawn justifiable comparisons to Guided By Voices, Woods and Kurt Vile. But there is a decided The Jesus and Mary Chain noise pop strain that, in addition to the decidedly dark cast to the lyrics, personalizes the music to this band.
The sound of Milk Maid illustrates the surprises one can get when members of bands step out into a lead role in their own project. Songwriter and frontman Martin Cohen also is the bassist for the currently inactive Nine Black Alps, which has a very different sound. Cohen's musical voice seems to spring from a merger of the early Creation Records era and the melodic pop of the 60s, and unabashedly reveals the highest quality influences. The guitars are omnipresent but vary from fuzzy to reverb to scuzzy, offset by a pulsing rhythm section and semi distorted vocals.
I became a fan with my first listen to "Not Me", a noise pop gem which immediately shouldered its way into my list of favorite songs for the year.
In addition to Cohen, Milk Maid are Ian Hodson, Rick Entezari, and Luke Towart. The band is signed to FatCat Records, and is performing live in the UK in support of Yucca.
A live version of album track "Girl"
With eleven songs, Yucca has many high notes. A couple of the songs grabbed me less than others, in particular, "Oh", but I can truthfully say that all the songs are quality. In addition to "Not Me", my highlights include the punk/garage "Such Fun", "Girl" (which has a Guided By Voices vibe, to my ears), Dead Wrong, the jangly power pop ballad of "Can't You See", and the slow burner "Same As What". Overall, this is a type of rock music I love, and I hope this band sticks around for a long time.
A live performance of the album's opening track, "Such Fun"