Of all the bands to have thrived during the resurgence of more interesting, diverse music, Milk Teeth have arguably fared the best. Creeper may have the international crowds clamouring over them to a higher extent, but in a post-My Chemical Romance world, that would’ve likely happened anyway. For Milk Teeth, with their heavily punked-up grunge that pretty much owes its entire existence to bands of the ’90s, breaking out a few years ago during the reign of Britrock would’ve been a pipe dream and nothing more.
But with the audience that their debut full-length Vile Child reached, Be Nice feels less like a capitalisation, and more Milk Teeth attempting to already push their brand forward. And yet, any fear that this is where the decline starts is totally unfounded, as in just four tracks, Milk Teeth have immediately become a tighter, more accessible proposition without losing a single drop of mojo.
Especially as far as musicality goes, Be Nice almost goes down the route of ragged pop-punk with Owning Your Okayness and Fight Skirt, the former being wrapped in the sort of deliriously addictive melodies that ingrain themselves so much deeper than a throwaway chorus, while the latter spirals into manic flurries with Billy Hutton’s screams over the pounding final drum line that’s just garnish to make an already great song even better.
And yet, while Milk Teeth can fire out these kinds of melodies like nobody’s business, there’s actual depth that ensures they stay rather than just fizzle away with an unnaturally short half-life. Rather, Be Nice has Becky Blomfield taking hits at those who do the exact opposite, whether that’s lying partners out to impress (Owning Your Okayness), people using their fame to manipulate others (Prism) and, on Hibernate, herself, and the burdens that adulthood and being in a touring band have on her mental health, performed softly over a simple, stripped-down guitar line. It’s among the best songs that Milk Teeth have put their name to, and touches on the upper echelon of what this new, progressing form of the band can really do.
Perhaps it goes even further than that, though – perhaps Be Nice is Milk Teeth’s best release to date. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assert, given that it’s easily their most immediate, smartly-written body of work, but also opens up previously inaccessible doors as to what they can achieve in future. Apparently there’s more on the way as well, and on the strength of what’s on offer here, that’s only a good thing.
For fans of: Basement, Jimmy Eat World, SWMRS
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Be Nice’ by Milk Teeth is out now on Roadrunnner Records.