Vive la révolution!
In a fairly small pub near Stepney Green last weekend their was something of a changing of the guard in North-East Indie-Pop tinged Punk circles. The legendary old timers, Milky Wimpshake, taking the role of the ageing silverback, Durham’s Martha the strong young black back who fancies his chances of running this particular tribe.
Milky Wimpshake showed their hand, they ran through all their best punk moves, they borrowed a track of their challengers side-project, and even let one of them play a particularly complicated guitar part; trying to get them to trip and make a fool of themselves in front of the tribe no doubt, a move that backfired when he played it with ease and shrugged knowingly as if to say, well that wasn’t even much of a challenge really. Milky looked strong, they showed no weaknesses, the crowd (we guess representing the females and infants of the Gorilla troop in this particularly tortuous analogy) looked impressed, Milky Wimpshake gave us the eye and we liked what we saw.
Martha had to respond; they had to win over the masses, and they did. They shouted, thrashed and charmingly grinned in our direction, we swooned, we bounced, we had a bloody great time, we demanded more and they provided for our needs. Their challenge was unstoppable, they were all set to be crowned the new chiefs of this particular tribe of misfits, but they saw the sadness in Milky’s eye, they looked at us, they looked at Milky Wimpshake, and they concluded that maybe a coalition wasn’t all that bad, as long as there weren’t any Tories involved, and Milky and Martha skipped off to their van, the two headed pop-punk monster had new towns to conquer, and ruling together, surely nothing could stop them!
Milky Wimpshake are the brain child of frontman Pete Dale, he’s been joined by bass player Christine Rowe for 21 years now, whilst drummer Mike Walsh is a much more recent addition to the band. On their latest record they’re joined by female vocalist Sophie Evans, who rather remarkably wasn’t even born when the first Milky Wimpshake gig took place!
That beautiful middle ground where Indie-Pop and Punk collide; guitars thrash, voices coo, and the rhythm section maintains a steady beat. There’s something both undeniably retro and ultimately timeless about the mix, shades of Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and in particular Art Brut.
They’re from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, a city in the North East of England that we seem to talk about on about a monthly basis such is the quality of music coming out of the city! This makes it a little hard to keep coming up with new facts about the best bits of the cities music scene, instead we’ll leave you with the worst; the solo career of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Sting and Lindisfarne – truly woeful!
Well let’s just say 1993, when the band formed, was quite a long time ago so as to not make anyone feel any older than they need to! Keeping track of their discography can be a little bit tricky, but for the last 15 years they’ve been putting out records on the ever wonderful Fortuna Pop. Their latest effort, Encore, Un Effort! is out April 20th.
Songs about being shy around girls, political revolutions and sexual deviancy are nothing new, but over the course of 20 years Pete and the gang have pretty much perfected them. With the addition of the effortlessly beautiful singing voice of Sophie Evans the band have never sounded more easy on the ears.
My Girl In Brackets is a tale of complicated love lives of the 21st century, the conversational nature of the two vocalists is used cleverly to put forward to sides of the story. The Boy in question remarks “it’s understood I never could own or take on loan your heart of gold” whilst The Girl slowly lets down her guard and accepts that she can give up her single life without giving up her personality. If it’s a loosely romantic track, Sexual Deviant is the opposite end of the scale “Have you got something to hide? Are you a sexual deviant? And I said YES, YES, and I’m happy this way”
Their cover of ONSIND’s Heterosexuality Is a Construct, is almost as good as the original, a plea to “not tolerate intolerance this time” and a note to the homophobes everywhere that “Love is not a crime, and I’d rather colour, outside of the lines, love knows no gender and its about time, you nailed your colours up next to mine” it’s just superb.
Just as good is Coming Soon, Pete’s call for a political-revolution “Christ knows this wine is agreeable and thank the lord it’s affordable but I’d prefer mass insurrection against the state in every land” and Pete’s musing on football, The Beautiful Game, “Football’s a beautiful game, if you like that sort of thing, I just don’t care which team wins.”
Fans of good French accents should probably look away from Pete’s effort in the Le Revolution Politique, only made to sound worse by Sophie’s rather excellent effort next to him. The only other criticism some might find is that you’ve kind of heard it all before, there’s little in the way of new ideas here, more an excellent rendition of what made Indie-Pop so thrilling in the first place.
Encore, Un Effort! is out on Fortuna Pop on April 20th. Milky Wimpshake are currently on tour in the UK with Martha.