Album Review: Milk Maid – Mostly No
‘Mostly No’ is the speedy follow-up from Manchester outfit Milk Maid to their debut LP ‘Yucca’, released only last year. It entails more of the same fuzzy guitars, lo-fi production and misery-riddled lyrics, unsubtly filing itself next to fellow noise-rock revivalists Yuck and spearheads of the genre such as Black Tambourine and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Its home-recorded, 16-track origins are made obvious from the first few bars of opener ‘Dopamine’, with its warm but intensely overdriven guitar riffs and simplistic instrumentation. It’s these intimate production values that determine the album’s strongest and weakest points, drifting in and out of likability throughout its modest thirty-two minute length.
The height of their success comes with lead single ‘Summertime’. Fizzling its way into life with an ear-shredding, War On Drugs-ish guitar solo before a disconcertingly calm verse, the chorus then takes off into a sonic cloud of rain, warmth, grass (both kinds) and occasional sunshine, setting the scene for a distinctly British version of the track’s title. It’s undeniable that any access to a real studio would have only cleaned up and hence ruined its endearingly dank atmosphere.
There are times, though, where this intimacy becomes cloying, most noticeably on the album’s penultimate track ‘Old Trick’. The vocals are whiny and over-reverbed, the guitar solos are double the length they need be and the last two minutes feature nothing other than the same chord progression repeated over and over. It’s here that I start to resent the originally charming invitation into frontman and lead songwriter Martin Cohen’s home; it’s as though he’s shamelessly taking advantage of my company. Subsequently, the aptly titled closer ‘No Goodbye’ makes a fittingly dreary but short soundtrack to my departure.
If ‘Mostly No’ could be summed up in a word (as arguably it can), it would be ‘predictable’. There is rarely a verse, chorus, bridge or solo that doesn’t occur at the exact point anyone would expect it to, the only notable exceptions being the two interludes of scratchy guitar feedback on previous free download ‘Do Right’ (see below).
The accompanying press release for the album states, “‘Mostly No’, Milk Maid’s second album in a year, showcases the evolution of a prolific and exciting talent.” Having reflected on how excited I was listening to it, I must confess, it’s mostly a no from me.
Mostly No is out now on Fat Cat Records