‘My Funny Social Crime’ is Indiepop at its best. Or worst….. it depends on how you view these things.
MILKY WIMPSHAKE has been around the Newcastle music scene in one form or another since 1993. Unashamedly ‘twee’ their music is an interesting mix of pure pop with tinges of punk attitude, but also a touch of ‘protest folk.’ And therein lies my problem – that last sentence contains both the words ‘twee’ and ‘folk.’ I don’t do ‘twee’ and ‘folk.’
But then, the very same sentence also mentions ‘punk’ and ‘pop’ – which I do do! (More so the ‘punk’ side of things, it has to be said.)
So where do I sit with this one? You know….. I still don’t know for sure! Part of me recoils in terror when I hear bands coming away with ‘amusing’ lyrics. Unless you’re the likes of The Lancashire Hotpots who specialise in almost slapstick, comedic songs, then I always feel it’s a bit dangerous aiming to be lyrically clever and ‘amusing.’ For instance when I hear lyrics like:
‘I can’t wait any longer, to make me would be wronger, than the Oklahoma bomber, and I’m not getting any younger,’ (‘Thursday’) or ‘Alice Nebulae, I love the dirt between her toes,’ (‘Alice Nebulae’) I kind of. …well, cringe a little!
And even worse, when we reach towards the end of the ukulele and xylophone laced ‘Lorraine’ and hear ‘..my baby dressed in red, come on baby let me give you…… ‘ I can just picture vocalist Pete Dale smiling, tilting his head and flashing a knowing wink in the direction of the audience in a Working Men’s Club in Newcastle! It’s that cheesy in places!
There are however tracks such as the darker ‘Murder In London’ and the rockabilly / pop song that is ‘Cherry Red’ that come across as less glib. ‘Changing Shape’ shows a more serious and tender side, while ‘Fuck The Rules’ is a cover of the Riot Grrrl band Kicking Giant’s song and like ‘Alice Nebulae’ (despite the corny lyrics) the vocal delivery is very New Wave in the shape of early Elvis Costello / Wreckless Eric. Then there’s ‘Broken Again’ with it’s shuffling refrain sounding a little like Paul Simon’s ‘Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard.’ And amongst the bounce and fuzzed guitars of ‘Eyeball To Eyeball’ Pete duets with Indie darling Amelia Fletcher of Talulah Gosh and Tender Trap fame.
God! I’m sounding a bit like Pete’s Geordie compatriot, Cheryl Cole and can’t make up my mind on his one.
Right, that’s it. I’m gonna file this one in the basket headed ‘Good, but not for me.’ It’s worth checking out, though.
(Released through Fortuna POP! on 6th December 2010)