New Blood: Milk

Ah <b>Milk</b>. Great source of calcium, won Sean Penn an Oscar… er, hang on, something’s off. Google has failed me – guys, you’ll have to introduce yourselves…

Feature by Chris Buckle | 28 Jul 2010
  • Milk

“Callum, up in the crow’s nest, is all guitar-cradling and neckerchief-wearing, while Sam will go down with the ship, laughing to the last at his cockpit of keyboards,” collectively explain Glasgow (via Fife) quartet, Milk.

“Michael plays at drums and dressing up down in the engine room, and Pablo stands at the prow, full of windy rhetoric and last night’s leftovers.” Any room for a celebrity endorsement on board? After all, that 'Got Milk' campaign has done wonders for dairy sales over the years –want to co-opt any Milk-the-Drink lovers as spokespersons for Milk-the-band?

“Can we breed them? If so we'll take the lithe and insatiable sexuality of Isabella Rosellini, couple it with the high-society histrionics of Elton John, and marry that off with the future-race breeding of the Olsens and the ruthless art-as-a-sacrificial-cow ambition of James Cameron.” Finally, this sexual, ambitious future-race progeny would be “wrapped in plastic, à la Joan Rivers.”

If their creation sounds elaborate and messy, it fits their musical identities; if their answers sound articulate yet obfuscating, it reflects their crafty, cultured smarts. “We think that bands are too readily vilified for not nailing a signature sound,” they argue. “It seems to us that using a broad palette can produce the most interesting and enjoyable results.” Their particular palette reaps the rewards of a four-way musical input that doesn’t necessarily flow naturally in the same direction.

“I think it would be fair to say that we began this at odd angles, and so the approach has been to try and challenge each other, taking our disparate inspirations and finding ways to harmonise them. We enjoy sifting through the noise.” When the sifting is finished, nuggets of Lizard King stargazing, smooth 80s grooves, moody atmospherics, deadpan humour and prog-squiggles remain. The unorthodox blend slips through genres like cow lactose through fingers. “We converge in strange places,” they acknowledge.

Milk confound classification in part through tactical shyness. Their low-profile moniker and lower-profile web presence constitute a genuine attempt to avoid the pigeonholing that rubberstamps acts straight from the womb. Milk are leaving their options open and keeping followers guessing.

“We're still in the formative stages of playing this music together, so anything that allows the freedom to go off on creative tangents is a must,” they explain. “The name gave us the blank slate. If you treat a band's name as a statement of intent, then ours remains open to interpretation.” Refreshingly, in an age where choosing a MySpace background sits uncomfortably high on new-starts' 'to do' lists, they’re uninterested in cultivating a potentially-straight-jacketing online persona. “We want the opportunity to surprise others and ourselves.”

Live, they don’t let such opportunities pass them by. But what about recordings? Any releases on the horizon? “In this regard,” they assert, “we reserve the right to remain mysterious.” Seems Milk will be whetting appetites a little longer yet.

Milk support FOUND at the Electric Circus, Edinburgh on 7 Aug.