Vile Child is the first full-length album from Bristol four-piece, Milk Teeth. They have already attracted quite an audience: I’d seen the name Milk Teeth rattling around various music magazines, websites and festival line-ups for quite a while before the album’s release. However, I never got round to listening to them until now and I haven’t been disappointed. They describe themselves as punk rock but it’s actually quite hard to pin them down because the album seems to touch on everything from the fuzzy guitars of grunge to the chiming melodies of indie to the aggression of emo. Milk Teeth are much more than just repeated power chords and angsty lyrics (not that I’m dissing punk rock - I love it!)
The band has two vocalists, Becky Blomfield, whose voice is soft but confident and dripping with attitude, and Josh Bannister, who takes care of the screaming; the two voices give Vile Child two different personalities. Most of the time, the vocalists have complete songs to themselves and occasionally they appear on a track together, meaning that the album is never monotonous.
Vile Child opens straight into the light-hearted, almost stereotypical punk rock song Brickwork, which will have you tapping your feet along immediately and ends less than two a half minutes later. Vocals here are provided by Becky and the song couldn’t be any more different to the closing track, Sunbaby, in which Josh sings. Despite its name, this latter song is a dark, melancholy track, the longest and most self-indulgent on the album, with a beautiful outro.
So, the album starts off in a fun way, but as it continues it seems that the songs get more mature, gradually showing off more and more of the band’s talent. This seems to begin with the track Swear Jar (Again), a really simple, nostalgic song with a guitar track that reminds me of Wolf Alice. This is followed by the spiky, shouty Get A Clue, which seems to be about the fear of the individual to be individual. After the morose Moon Wanderer and reflective Kabuki take it down a notch for a while, our mood is lifted again by Crows Feet, a simple, poppy track with whimsical lyrics about the highs and lows of the first years of adulthood. If I were to choose one track that sums up the whole album, I would choose Leona. It begins with Josh’s voice and a sluggish bassline and then explodes into a powerful, anthemic chorus with soaring guitars and Becky’s smooth vocals. The two voices compliment each other beautifully and I have no doubt that it would sound amazing live.
The album really takes you on a journey through all of the band’s moods and colours and it’s obvious that they’ve put a lot of effort in to introducing themselves to the world in the best way possible. There is still room for improvement, but there is no doubt that the enthusiasm is there and I hope there will be more music from these guys in the future. I’ll also be looking out for live dates, because Vile Child’s energy will undoubtedly be even more impressive on stage.