Milky Whimpshake - My Funny Social Crime

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2010-11-08

Milky Wimpshakes' brand of punk-folk/indie-pop has never sounded more gloriously life-affirming than on this, their fourth album My Funny Social Crime. From the opening sugar-rush of 'Alice Nebulae' the 'Shake deliver seemingly effortless indie-pop with witty, socially aware lyrics and brilliantly addictive melodies. The album contains Pete Dale's ever-wonderful musings on everything from work, police accountability, heartache and falling in love. It's fair to say, however, that much of My Funny Social Crime is concerned with matters of the heart.

Dale doesn't mix his words as he sings, "My heart has been broken again, well, I wake in the morning with tears in my eyes and I'm sad and in pain" on the defiantly bouncy 'Broken Again'. In fact, many of the album's lyrics are deceptively straightforward; it's not everyone who can get away with rhyming "avoid me" with "paranoidly". Milky Wimpshake however manage to make an almost naive simplicity utterly charming.

The narrative in 'Itchy Feet on a Tuesday Night' sees Dale consider life, love and the perils of the working week as he sings "…don't want nine to five, 'cos it's not my style, want to walk right out, want to run a mile…" It's a beautifully constructed song about the desire to escape a dull routine and find that ever-elusive worthwhile direction. There's a lot of humour (and truth) in Dale's lyrics too as he sings "Let me tell you that, I take stuff from work, I take books and pens and machinery". It's a quietly thrilling song and an early album highlight.

Their version of Motown anthem 'Share a Little Love with Me' is transformed into the ideal bedsit foot-stomper while 'One Good Use for My Heart' bounces along like a good-humoured Wedding Present. 'Patchwork' is a tender acoustic ballad, replete with a mournful cello and a resigned Dale singing, "Well we patched it up today, in a partial sort of way". 'Thursday' would perhaps be a tad twee or even cheesy in lesser hands yet Milky Wimpshake make its cry of "Am I gonna be the one, for all time?" undeniably touching. 'Cherry Pop' is fizzy indie-pop perfection as Dale lets us in on the albums cryptic title, admitting; "My funny social crime is that I fall in love all the time".

'Lorraine' is reminiscent of the mighty Half Man Half Biscuit with its novelty-country twang, indeed a compliment of the highest order within indie circles. 'Murder in London' takes a more serious tone as the lyrics bring to mind the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests as well as wider issues of police accountability: "They killed an innocent man for not moving quickly". 'Clicking It' picks things up again with its classic Wimpshake buzzsaw guitars, while their cover of Kicking Giants' fantastically defiant 'Fuck the Rules' is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Milky Wimpshake make their own rules, as they make clear on 'Clicking It': "All the punks are chicken shit, conforming to what they're told is the punk thing to do". 'Eyeball to Eyeball' is an instantly infectious indie duet with Tender Traps' Amelia Fletcher, while closing number 'Changing Shape' is a beautiful folk song about love and the inevitable onset of change.

My Funny Social Crime is an instantly brilliant indie-pop classic that should sit somewhere between Hefners' The Fidelity Wars and Ballboys A Guide for the Daylight Hours on your shelves. Pete Dale's straight-to-the-point lyrics on unrequited love and the general confusion of modern life, coupled with the 'Shakes way with a tune, make My Funny Social Crime a joyous thing to behold. Utterly unmissable. No joke.

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