Categorized | Album Reviews

Milky Wimpshake – Heart and Soul in the Milky Way

Posted on 01 February 2013 by Joe

Milky Wimpshake are one of those now-rare bands that put out their first tracks on cassette with Lettraset stenciled covers. It shows.

Still beautifully raw and unpolished they bring three-minute spangly punk pop cheer to your ears. In the two decades since their origins they appear to have picked up influences along the way yet retained their own preferred unthreatening brand of guitar, bass, drums music.

While not out-and-out comical, frontman Pete Dale applies a lyrical trickery that could be a throwback to Half Man Half Biscuit, epitomised on the track ‘Uncool Jerk’. It’s a schtick that could divide listeners – I happen to love it. What’s more, Milky Wimpshake never stray into whimsy – and there’s no show-off ‘look at how clever we are’ feel to this album.

Sadly Heart and Soul in the Milky Way struggles to get going. I can’t help feeling the opener ‘Chemical Spray’ is lyrically, musically and for originality’s sake, the weakest track on the album.

Having said that, four tracks in and we’re really flying with ‘Activated’, a proper uptempo, almost Britpoppy, treat. We move swiftly through ‘Motormouth’ which in many ways wouldn’t be out of place as a Belle & Sebastian single, to the curiously catchy ‘Omnia Mea Mecum Porto’, a cover of a Les Cox (Sportifs) track about the horror of having to get up and go to work. It maybe that the key line is in Latin, but the magic of the Milkys is that they make it work so well.

And as the final track we have my personal favourite of the album Without You: a flutey boy-girl duet reminiscent of The Delgados or The Ladybird Transistor but with subversive, darkly delightful lyrics about a break-up.  She sings about her confusion. He sings about his paranoia. They seem to be cutely making it up by the end, which leaves you with a warm fizz as you hit the repeat button.

Apparently you can still get a Wimpy Milkshake. Heart and Soul in the Milky Way proves that you can still get an excellent Milky Wimpshake disc. Who knew?

7/10

by Rob Finch

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