Vile Child, by Milk Teeth
Suggested by Luke Kay
Ten days ago, this album hit the list for my 1000 Albums project.
Within a week, Milk Teeth announced they’d split up. Four days ago, to be precise.
Beware what you nominate for my attention, folks. This project is The Ring, and I am Samara.
The first thing that hits you about Milk Teeth is their vocal situation. Unwilling to restrain themselves to one lead vocalist, they break the mould and push the envelope and think outside the box. That’s right, folks. TWO LEAD VOCALISTS. Two lead vocalists with wildly contradicting styles.
Their female lead (and bassist) has a classic indie-rock sound, reminiscent of Nina Persson of the Cardigans, or even Sharleen Spiteri. The songs on which she plays the starring role are the best on the album.
Their male lead (and guitarist) has a screaming punk / metal voice, almost gurttural and verging on high death metal campness in places. The song on which he sings are largely forgettable.
Musically, the distorted guitar and homespun sound feels at odds with both styles, as if they pitched themselves dead centre and thus missed the glory of either extreme. The stringed instruments are grunged up through effects to an almost comical degree, giving the entire album that played-in-the-garage feel. It’s energetic – you certainly can’t say they aren’t belting it out – but it stinks a little of teenage excess. Everything louder than everything else.
Yeah, I know. Get off my lawn, you kids.
There are some good tracks. My highlight is Crows Feet, three minutes of power pod with the funkiest drums on the album. Brickwork is also solid, and features both singers doing double duty. If I’m honest, it’s the best way to swallow the male lead vocals, diluted into a grunge version of Evanescence without the production values.
Vile Child just about musters a 5/10, on the strength of the female lead. Who knows, maybe she’ll find more fortune in a future project, unencumbered by a gravel-gargling grunge-guitar-grinding albatross.
It’s always a shame when a much-loved band splits up, but I won’t miss Milk Teeth. Like their literal counterparts, I’ve a set of adult variations on the same theme that have lasted me for years.