Album Reviews

Beat Milk Jugs – 10 Years Of Hangovers

(TV) UK release date: 21 February 2011

Fans of Stomp-style percussion troupes who utilise only antiquated dairy receptacles as instruments look away now. The somewhat appallingly named Beat Milk Jugs are not the band for you. But if the thought of a bunch of Latvian goth-dance types now relocated in the UK exploring a fairly well trodden path of electro-pop gothtronica appeals then there might just be something within the confines of 10 Years Of Hangovers worth a listen.

Kicking off with Dvina, which is introduced by a nice Russian lady, things get underway in fairly routine fashion. Being as it’s the first single from the album, it wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable to expect a forceful introduction, but instead it’s a case of breakbeat bluster and little else. The beats and bass pattern seem to have been lifted from The Prodigy circa Breathe, while the vocals attempt to drift enigmatically across the mix. Sadly they’re pretty much swamped in a wash of beats – unfortunate, particularly as there’s a fairly sizeable low-key, almost ambient midsection devoid of any vocals whatsoever.

Slightly better is Not My Day which leans towards the influence of New Order and is a less beat heavy affair. Here spidery guitars crawl over pensive synths, and with the drums taking a back seat the vocals are given more room to breathe and add a sense of emotion to proceedings.

7th Street hints at a mild glitch influence creeping into the band’s psyche starting as it does in a quite subdued manner. Some harsh guitars cut in at the midpoint changing the tone of the song entirely a bit like swapping a sponge for a cheese grater half way through a weekly bath. From here on out the song is an explosion of strangulated guitars and thundering drum patterns. Even a sample enquiring about the price of a sausage can’t quite undermine the band when they’re in full flow.

At the centre of the album are the band’s finest moments. The first of these is In/Out which features a female guest vocalist (presumably Robotplant) and a folk influence that pushes the band towards chillout territory. The breakbeats and synth manipulation are perhaps a little too bombastic, and it might all sound a little dated, like something off a 1998 Ibiza compilation, but there’s something undeniably tempestuous and exhilarating being tapped into here.

Welcome To Heaven is similarly dated with its arpeggiator intro and distortion ridden guitars calling to mind The Prodigy once again. There are also hints of the occasionally dirty grinds that The Lo Fi Allstars used to indulge in. While it might not be on a par with Battleflag, there’s an urgency that gets the adrenalin racing.

From here on, things start to dwindle. She Likes Black can’t quite make up its mind whether it wants to soothe with delicate piano motifs or kick your face off, so just settles for a middle ground of being homicidally tedious. The Wedding also possesses a quite beautiful piano intro but drifts off into a meandering fug – the saxophone that adds its squawk here and there doesn’t really help matters.

My Burrow wraps things up in slightly more sinister tone, with almost euphoric breaks providing a little light relief. By the song’s conclusion, it would not be unreasonable to assume that Beat Milk Jugs might have a copy of Underworld‘s Second Toughest In The Infants hidden away on the CD racks at home.

10 Years Of Hangovers isn’t the most original of albums then, but there are a few choice cuts. One question remains however – just how much was that sausage?

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Beat Milk Jugs – 10 Years Of Hangovers