From its opener, Boxing Day Blues (take 1) to its closer Milk Maid, Milky Wimpshakes Pop Shaped is a fun-filled romp through the head of Pete Dale. In fact, the album comes with liner notes for each of his love inspired, socially conscious and childishly clever tunes. Dale freely admits many influences including the Buzzcocks, Woody Guthrie, Jonathan Richman and Daniel Johnston (of which he does a medley of the latter two artists songs). I could hear all of that and much more, but if Im to lay down my own comparison, I would definitely go with Billy Bragg, particularly on the songs Boxing Day Blues (take 1) and Heres to the State of Mr. Poodle.
Boxing Day Blues (take 1) is just great and to try and explain it would be silly; its one of those songs that you hear once and it clicks. Its stuck in your head, and you want to share it with as many people as possible. Its an acoustic number, and one of the few on the album. For the most part, Milky Wimpshake is a three-piece twee punk band from the UK. The music is very stripped down and easy to listen to. The guitar tends to drive the songs; the rhythm section holds the songs down with a simple straightforward beat, while Dale adds catchy little melodies on the organ to top off the songs. The tracks Youre Shaken, Im Stirred and Dont Get Down (get even) are particular standouts.
Dale includes a song about his favorite superhero, Spidey, which only adds to the seeming innocence of this album. But it is songs like Needed: Heart Handbook, that show the true maturity of this material: Ill undo every button on your shirt till I get in/ Cause I want direct access to the thump of your heartbeat. Then there is Heres to the State of Mr. Poodle, a definite Dylan/Guthrie concoction: Heres to the land youve torn out the heart of/ Mr. Poodle find yourself another country to be part of; its a song of disgust about the hypocrisy of our worlds national governments (Mr. Rumsfield gets a special shout out for the damage hes done).
So, yes this is a great little album to pop in when you need to pull yourself together. Its stripped down, basic, at times brutal, at times beautiful and at all times, enjoyable. If you like any of the aforementioned influences, do not hesitate to get yourself a Milky Wimpshake.
All content © LEFT OFF THE DIAL 2001-2005. All rights reserved.