Recorded in songwriter Martin Cohen’s flat, when the indefinite hiatus of Nine Black Alps meant the bassist found he had time on his hands, Milk Maid’s debut album ‘Yucca’, released on the 20th of June, is the sound of an artist moving out of the shadows of the rhythm section and delighting in the freedom of doing things his way. The result is an album that might have come out on Creation Records in their 80’s heyday, recalling indie stalwarts like Comet Gain and marrying timeless pop hooks with the raw spontaneity of home recording. Sweet, sun-drenched pop hooks are pitched against viscerally dark and sinister lyrics that explore disintegrating relationships and emotional conflict to a backdrop of Cohen’s Manchester hometown.
These head swimming juxtapositions are apparent thirty seconds into ‘Yucca’ as the innocently titled opener ‘Such Fun’ breaks in to it’s second verse and Cohen sings ‘I know a man who’ll cut your throat out for a buck or two’ over an instantly hummable melody. What follows is a Vaselines-esque chorus, taking the inane lyrics to Status Quo’s ‘Round and Round’ and filling them with a Swell-like menace, delivered with the fatalistic sigh of Kurt Cobain. Later in the album on ‘Dead Wrong’, Cohen sings ‘You’re killing yourself to cut your arms off, you’re stabbing yourself in the gut’ and it still manages to sound like a lost Buddy Holly song (albeit with the production values of a Sic Alps track!).