Take a look at Milk Teeth’s social channels and they all use the same name: “milkteethpunx”. Whilst their sound possesses an undeniably punk streak, that’s not the whole story, in spite of their apparent insistence on doing so themselves, labelling them simply as a punk band would be unnecessarily pigeonholing them. Milk Teeth are much more than that, and on Vile Child they push and contort the boundaries of the punk rock genre in all manner of exhilarating ways.
A key factor in Milk Teeth’s divergence from pure punk rock is their penchant for reviving – and revitalising – alt-rock and grunge from decades past. ‘Driveway Birthday’ recalls tender early Paramore at first, though it soon becomes clear from the sometimes ominous tone in singer and bassist Becky Blomfield’s vocals that this is no sugary sweet pop punk affair. ‘Burger Drop’, meanwhile, could easily be a reincarnation of Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’, only with even more snarling grit.
The Stroud-based group have got the sentimental moments down to a tee as well, with ‘Swear Jar (again)’ the quintessential ballad of angst-fuelled youthful rebellion. “Put another penny in the swear jar / I know you went no harm / Drive as fast as you can in your dad’s car / Forty miles an hour won’t get us very far,” sings Blomfield over Vile Child’s most forlorn-sounding guitar. ‘Kabuki’, meanwhile, assumes a similarly downcast demeanour, though it’s decidedly darker with its murky acoustic strings and lyrics like “Just a wasted egg / In mum’s basket”.
For the most part though, Vile Child shows that there’s one thing Milk Teeth love more than anything: making a hell of a lot of noise. Whether that comes in the shape of the fast and furious ‘Cut You Up’ – one of four tracks to feature guitarist Josh Bannister’s ferocious hardcore-style growl on lead vocals – or play-it-out-loud festival anthems in waiting such as ‘Crows Feet’ and ‘Brickwork’ matters not one bit; Milk Teeth are a force to be reckoned with.
Live: O2 Forum – February 18th (w/ Tonight Alive)