Very much more of the same from Newcastle pop-punk oiks, Milky Wimpshake.
Last time I reviewed a Milky Wimpshake album, I used up all of my best, most witty and bile-filled lines to communicate how banal and stupid their music was. In the interests of fairness, this time around I'm going to try and get to five hundred words in a balanced and fair manner. You never know, I might even say some nice things; Milky Wimpshake have been making music for around twenty years now, so surely they must be doing something right.
The album begins with 'Chemical Spray', a no frills, no surprises, cheeky piece of strat pop. The guitar solo section is particularly of note, with some really fun, fairly solid rockabilly guitar licks. Other than that, if you are one of the Wimpshake faithful there is nothing especially new or ground breaking going on here. It is still monotone vocals and daft lyrics that do not really fit or even especially work, such as this fine, shining example: "ooh, ooh, going to school, the teacher's gonna teach you how to eat stool". This line does not really say anything and is not funny enough to justify the needless, slavish loyalty to a rhyme scheme.
Heart and Soul in the Milky Way carries on in much the same way, sticking fairly rigidly to their formula of simple, concise three chord pop tunes, with highlights including the Britpop-esque 'On Top', and 'La Di Da' which, tellingly, is a cover of a song by Jake Thackray.
Elsewhere, the songs need a little polishing. Perhaps another go at the vocal take on '(I'll Be Your) Subject/Object' wouldn't have gone amiss. Neither would a little more variety. These thirteen songs seem to blend into one another after a while and in the second half of the album you might as well give up trying to follow the track listing, as it starts to congeal into one long, mischievous indie song. Also, not to excessively drive a point home, but some of these lyrics are laughably dreadful. 'Uncool Jerk' should have gone through a rigorous editing process or better yet, stayed unwritten. A particular low point of that song being this 'gem': "your car it has wheels, and so does my bicycle". The problem is not that it is a stupid line; it is that it is a stupid line that does not even fit with the music or the rest of the lyrics.
All is forgiven with album closer 'Without You'. This song offers something of a ray of light, with strong female vocals carrying the band. Maybe if there was more of this type of thing, the album would hold up a lot better than it does throughout its entire thirteen songs. In general, if you turn off your brain and enjoy your music on the pop side of 'The Fall', Heart and Soul in the Milky Way is in places a very fun, if lo-fi release. Just don't think about it for too long.