UK band THE MILK MEN was formed back in 2010, and specialize in playing live, then performing cover tunes with some additional flavoring of their own original material. “Full Phat” is the band’s debut album, and was released in the early spring of 2016 on Raging Horse Records.
For a band consisting of musicians with a background in blues and from what I can read also perform at many blues festivals, the amount of old fashioned blues on this production is surprisingly low. This as experienced by someone without too great a knowledge base about this style of music, and the main exposure being those who explore blues in a more traditional and very easy to recognize manner. This album is one I’d describe as one mainly existing beyond those parameters. Blues is obviously at the core, and that heritage is emphasized by doing some well known covers as well as in the guitar solo parts, but otherwise my experience is that this band hones in on music that developed beyond blues as such, as seen from a traditional point of view.
Boogie and rockabilly are core traits, especially in the early parts of the album, with something of a country music feel at times as well. Te band tends to opt for a tight, firm instrumentation on most occasions, with sharp, clear notes without resonances, dominant distortions or other effects giving these songs a loose feel. This possibly to emphasize and contrast the raspier and more loose lead vocals, and enjoying that dynamic will be central to enjoy this opening half of this production.
As the album unfolds the band hones in a bit closer to their blues heritage, with songs like No Particular Place to Go, The Score and Dust My Broom probably being the key tracks exploring that aspect of their repertoire, but there also songs, the originals penned by the band themselves in particular, that are harder to pin down into an exact category. Unless I’m much mistaken the highly impressive In the City is among these originals, a song that to my ears at least comes across as more of a straight forward rock song, revolving around expressive vocals and a firm staccato instrument foundation to create a strong and emotional atmosphere. As in other songs, the more distinct blues elements mainly coming to the front here in the guitar solo.
While I do not regard The Milk Men as a blues band as such, in my ears these guys are more of a retro-oriented rock band that flavor their material with some select blues elements and occasional blues cuts, I rather suspect that their key audience will be those who favor music made on a more distinct blues foundation, with those who enjoy 50’s rock’n roll, rockabilly and late 60’s to early 70’s rock in equal amounts to be something of a key audience.
My rating: 75/100
Mike Mine a Double, She Don’t Like Rock’n’Roll, Real Good Looking, She’s Coming Home, No Particular Place to Go, Pocketful of Pennies, The Score, In the City, Bury the Gun, Dust My Broom, Wicked Lies