When I got to my early 20s, all the bands that I had grown up listening to and the tastes I had cultivated from the age of about 13 hit a ceiling and went into a kind of suspended animation. My favourite bands stayed my favourite bands, I stopped reading the NME, went to fewer and fewer gigs and didn't listen to anything new - and the new stuff I did hear didn't interest me much. The door closed and everything went into hibernation - it was like a real life Desert Island Discs.
Top of my list of the bands I took to my desert island were Fun Lovin' Criminals, who remain my number one to this day (although they're now under some stiff competition from The Milk). So when I discovered FLC frontman Huey Morgan's radio shows on BBC Radio 2 and 6Music, it was a blissful reawakening - all my old faves were there plus some new stuff that HM seemed to know I wanted to listen to before I did.
One of the bands HM plugged in a big way was The Milk. He was interviewing them on one of his shows and 'All I wanted Was Danger' came on. Well, it was like a thunderbolt. All the hairs stood up on my neck, goosebumps swept across my body and I immediately pre-ordered the album and bought tickets to one of their shows (I wanted to catch them at a smallish, intimate venue before they become massive - because they will).
After weeks of frustrated nail-biting waiting (the likes of which I have not experienced since I was about 15), album release day for 'Tales from the Thames Delta' finally rolled around (coinciding more or less with my birthday) and the experience was indescribably awesome. 11 tracks of aural bliss that energised my emotions in a way no other band has for a loooong time.
They're an eclectic, wide-ranging bunch, no doubt. There's some pop in there, some punk, a piano ballad and even some dubstep grooves that will appeal to nearly everyone (which is why I think they will be massive - thanks to The Milk, my daughter thinks I'm cool again, which is quite impressive considering lambasting my musical tastes is her second career).
TFTTD is rich and vibrant and cleverly rooted in time and place - it's not just a collection of songs, but a real Essex landmark and more than the sum of its parts. References to the Eastern line, 28 Seymour Street (in Chelmsford, according to Google Maps) and of course the Delta itself thread their way through the album; couple this with some intelligent, angry-young-man lyrics about the seamier side of blue-collar life, family and the hunger to break out of the doldrums in that end of the world and you have the makings of a really important album. The songs themselves are linked by some soundbites that help with the overall atmosphere of the album, be it the trilling of the amusement arcades or the space-pap ringing of a mobile phone or the flare of the Zippo as the pub door closes behind you. In that sense it's also a bit similar to Alabama 3's depiction of Brixton in 'Exile on Coldharbour Lane' (another bunch of miscreant geniuses).
I think comparisons with The Jam will inevitably pop up here 'n' there - especially when you listen to 'Hometown' - but there are some important differences. First off, Rick Nunn's incredible voice has a soul and a power that Weller's never could have, and their politics are a lot more subtle (which helps with the mainstream appeal). I like The Jam, but they never gave me that emotional buzz that The Milk do. There's a bit of The Specials in there as well - who were also all about where they came from - with some ska-like influences in 'Nothing But Matter.' And they somehow knew to include one of my favourite actors (Idris Elba) on 'Picking Up The Pieces' - touch of genius, that.
(Oh yeah, I like The Wolf's description of RN's voice as a cross between Anastasia and Boz Scaggs - I'd have said Amy Winehouse and Paul Young!)
Anyway, I'm not a music journo and have no desire to be, so I'll just say that overall, this a collection of fantastic, nerve-tingling, foot-stomping tunes that have made me feel good and bad and angry and defiant all at once, as well as refreshing me like no other band in over 20 years and making me think about life in a different way. The Milk are absolutely ace and I love them. There aren't many albums that I would unequivocally recommend to anybody, but this is one of them. Thanks to Huey for plugging them otherwise I might not have discovered them at all - and that would have been a crime.
People take the long way home for many reasons (ain't that right, Supertramp?) but this album is so good that I find myself driving a circuitous route so I don't have to switch off the CD mid-flow. They're quite right when they sing 'I don't feel like going home.'
So, Milk Men, I wouldn't quite say you broke up my family, but you owe me for petrol. Big time.
First I took one star off as the CD arrived with the case broken. Then I put it on while I was making dinner and soon realised I would not have to worry about the case as it would be used much anyway due to constant play. What an album, Alt-J won plaudits for tuneless rubbish so clearly the Mercury Prize judges never got to hear songwrighting at its very best and very british. The handclaps , the choruses you can sing along without a care in the world. All I ask is if you buy this album put it on while driving in traffic or had a bad day at work as this is a instant cure for gloom.
The Milk are a cracking little Essex band whose debut recording 'Tales From The Thames Delta' generates enough energy to make your lips melt and knees crumble (this is an entirely good thing by the way!) and given the airplay it rightly deserves may well put their name up in lights before the year's out.
In Ricky Nunn they have a very fine front man. Boy oh boy can this guy sing! (Imagine the lovechild of Boz Scaggs and Anastasia and you're somewhere close). His rasping, soulful voice is chock full to bursting with raw feeling and not a little humour when the moment permits. He is well-supported in his endeavors by brothers Mitch (drums) and Luke (bass) Ayling who lay down a rock solid rhythm section and Dan Le Gresley on guitar. They make a great sound together.
Top tracks from the eleven on offer would have to include : 'Hometown', a truly rumbustious number which rattles along like an express train; the ska-infused 'Nothing but Matter', brimming over with sunny harmonies and good fellow-feeling; 'Kimmi Kimmi' which wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'The Commitments' soundtrack - a splendid slice of retro R&B and the totally marvelous final song 'Lay The Pain On Me', a convincingly emotional slice of bluesy gospel with a deeply felt performance from Mr Nunn and some deliciously deadpan Estuary backing vocals from his compatriots. An authentically moving finale.
I haven't had so much fun listening to a new album in ages.
Essex boys The Milk are doing their own thing. In a year when pretty much everything sounded like a carbon copy of a rehashed David Guetta demo with Nicki Minaj-esque jibber-jabber, Tales from the Thames Delta shows us how real pop music should sound like. As pop records go, it's assuredly retro - it pilfers old-school soul, reggae and funk and I detect an air of hip hop in the production values. My only fear is that somebody is going to come along and describe The Milk as "a British Maroon 5." Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Dr gonzos review sums my feelings up entirely. My favourite bands have been my favourite bands for a long long time. Sure there have been a few in the last 10 or 15 years that have kind of grabbed me but then The Milk come along and I've found myself trying to spread the word like some sort of music evangelist! I heard Huey play All I wanted was danger about a year ago - loved it and kept looking for the album. When it was eventually released I ordered it immediately but had no idea just how fantastic it would be - 2 months on and I just can't stop playing it. Every track is cool, original and I'm no dancer but I just want to get up and throw shapes whenever it's on. Please please do yourselves a favour and buy it now and make them huge - nobody will regret it!
A fresh new band, CD is very good. I've seen them live and the CD is a great and encapsulates their on-stage energy. They know how to perform and are very slick. Quite soulful and danceable tracks. Invest in the CD and then go and see them live. A good night out!
This has been on repeat play since I bought the CD a few weeks ago. It is foot-tapping, sing-along, refreshing, innovative and fun!! Play it loud in the car and enjoy the traffic jams. Absolutely brilliant, my album of 2012 so far!
I heard these guys playing and being interviewed on a Radio 1 session and they came across as being passionate, genuine and sincere musos. Bought the CD and wasn't disappointed with the tracks. As a dad and muso of 51 years I still reckon I can spot a good,live band and I would thoroughly rcommend this album if you like punchy, guitar driven, R n B - with clever lyrics. Great album to listen to on cordless headphones when you're doing 'dad' jobs around the house. Go see them.