It’s been an eventful 18 months for Milk Teeth. Since the turn of 2016 they have released their debut full-length album Vile Child, seen long-time guitarist and vocalist Josh Bannister leave on the eve of the release of said record, they’ve toured the US, supported acts like Tonight Alive and Creeper in the UK and, recently, signed a deal with Roadrunner Records.
The pop punk quartet arrived at Leeds’ Key Club in the midst of a ten-day summer jaunt around the UK and fresh from the release of their latest EP, and first under Roadrunner’s wing, Be Nice. Following Bannister’s departure and subsequent replacing with former Hindsights member Billy Hutton, Milk Teeth have taken a different approach to their sound.
It is in evident in tonight’s opener Owning Your Okayness, an almost sugary-sweet pop punk number with the obligatory huge chorus. It’s a clear departure from the strained angst of Vile Child but one that is welcomed with open arms by those in attendance. Fellow new tracks Prism and Fight Skirt also strike a chord as Milk Teeth look like a band increasingly ready to handle their surely inevitable rise.
Lead vocalist and bassist Becky Blomfield has an infectious energy complimented with a confident stage presence, splitting the crowd into call and response on the opening track. Hutton’s addition is seamless as he takes over Bannister’s vocal duties to flawlessly deliver the rasping drawl on the excellent Brickwork.
Despite a limited back catalogue to call upon, Milk Teeth demonstrate a prowess for a hook evident in the shimmying Brain Food and the grunge throwback of Swear Jar. There are tender moments here as well with the haunting Kabuki – an ode to fighting mental health problems – providing a moment of melancholy in the middle of a frenetic set.
Another airing of a new track – Hibernate – and Milk Teeth are done leaving a crowd baying for more. Their calls would not be answered but this is a name that will continue to populate magazine stands and pack venues for the foreseeable future.
The combination of heartfelt and goddamn catchy songs and signing to a label such as Roadrunner (one that the seemingly unstoppable Creeper also call home) Milk Teeth can brace themselves for another eventful 18 months.
WORDS: TOM WALSH