“Pure fire and skill…an immersive experience you don’t want to end” Guardian, NBOTD
“Destined for large things…pour a glass of these chaps” The Fly, Ones To Watch
“Contemporary soulful vocals, reggae beats and eclectic Motown” X Magazine
“The Milk echo The Jam and Dexy’s Midnight Runners in taking the best of Sixties soul and R&B and channelling it into classic, turbo-charged pop” NOTW, Stars For 2011
Hotly-tipped newcomers The Milk will release their first ever single, ‘(All I Wanted Was) Danger’, on 28 March, produced by acclaimed hip-hop/electronic DJ and remixer Brad Baloo (The Nextmen). Following a string of sell-out shows, including XOYO’s Tips For 2011, The Milk will also headline Camden’s Barfly as part of HMV’s Next Big Thing festival on 5 February. The band has already gained a devoted live following since playing dates with the likes of Chase & Status, Darwin Deez and DJ Yoda, on top of appearances for BBC Introducing and Manchester’s In The City festival. They will announce a host of further live plans shortly.
The Milk are four spirited young men from Wickford, Essex – birthplace of, among others, Alvin Stardust and Chantelle Houghton of ‘Big Brother’ fame. The boys spent their formative years dreaming of being cool kids in Camden, and thrashing around somewhat aimlessly in a punk band. Then, having slogged up and down the M1 one too many times, with self-booked tours that took them to Hull via Exeter and Edinburgh (“we had no concept of geography,” notes singer Rick), the band realised punk was dead, and split.
‘(All I Wanted Was) Danger’ was conceived during this slump, and proved to be the turning point in their musical and professional lives. Stylistically, the boys began to embrace the classic Motown, Stax and Trojan records that had soundtracked their early teens. Days were spent working a series of stop-gap jobs (builder, teacher in a special needs school, pharmaceutical salesman). Nights, however, were dedicated to channelling this frustration into new songs and sounds: all of which were – and often still are – written and recorded in their garden shed. The first fruit of this overhaul was ‘(All I Wanted Was) Danger’, which became as much a motto to live by as a killer tune (with two choruses). A thrilling burst of soulful pop, ‘Danger’ feels influenced by a love of The Style Council, the restless energy of ‘Born To Run’, and the call-and-response choruses of The Vandellas or The Ronettes. It is an immediate and immersive mix: classic, contemporary and expertly-crafted.
The release of ‘Danger’ comes backed with ‘Dynamite’, which chronicles the release of the pent-up energy and frustration of the A-Side. Though it was written with one thing in mind – to soundtrack their local indie dive, The Pink Toothbrush – its lyrics might also refer to a friend’s experiences of Viagra. The band don’t want to get anyone into trouble, so won’t name names.
Having jacked in their jobs and thrown themselves into music, The Milk are already turning all the right heads. This first release shows an undeniable ear for big Soul melodies, but the band have ambitions beyond the ‘retro’, as their demos are a testament to. ‘Chip The Kids’, for instance, is a horn-drenched, disco-infused number, proving that their best may yet be to come. The hip-hop swing of ‘B-Roads’, meanwhile, points to the broader aspects of the band’s considerable taste: they idolise the Beastie Boys’ seminal ‘Paul’s Boutique’, and plan to mix their own album (like their live show) from one track into another. While they’ve found the danger they were after, you sense they’re only just getting started.