The thing with the 'trendy' debut album is this: have the band made the music that they love that just so happens to be the 'cool' thing at the time of them making it, or have the band made the music because it's the cool at the time of them making it? With its garage rock influences and its 'recorded in a bedroom' lo-fi aesthetic, Milk Maid's debut effort is undoubtedly hip, but it's this suspicion of popularity-grabbing and thus disingenuous 'painting by numbers' that in part stalls Yucca from being considered anything more than simply 'good'.

Undoubtedly the Manchester four-piece have found themselves a trusted and reliable recipe with their debut release. The heavily distorted, pop-melody drenched vocals of ex-Nine Black Alp Martin Cohen sit atop layers of scruffy, fuzzy and often discordant guitar lines, whilst bass and drum both do their things perfectly adequately and enjoyably below. Charactertised by their distinctly lazy, slacker feel (through half-sung vocals, casually strummed guitar parts, and slow-paced drum lines), often difficult to decipher lyrics (mostly caused by the mic distortion), and its blend of 60s garage, 70s rock and even at times punk and folk which, for the most part, enables the band to produce catchy and enjoyable scruffy pop songs.

Songs such as album opener ‘Such Fun’, as well as ‘Dead Wrong’ and ‘Not Me’, epitomise Milk Maid at their best: fuzzy, catchy and fun; songs that seem to have been put together by a group of friends enjoying what they’re doing, whilst ‘Same As What’ shows the band’s unplugged, more delicate side edging them into folk territory. However, too often on Yucca do songs feel like filler, seemingly derived more through their song-writing recipe book (see: ‘Someone You Thought You Forgot’, ‘Can’t You See’, and ‘Back Of Your Knees’) rather than through a desire to write music that they feel passionately about, and this can lead to some of the album floating by unnoticed or, worse, boring the listener. As well as this, track-listing often feels misjudged. Songs can stumble awkwardly into each other rather than flowing smoothly, and this makes Yucca at times feel more like a simple collection of songs rather than a coherent and structured piece of art in itself.

At first glance this may well seem like a dream come true for your average young music fan, hitting all the right notes both in terms of musical influence and of DIY ethic. After slightly closer inspection, however, it might not be quite as good as you truly urge it to be. Perhaps if Yucca was an EP as opposed to a full-length – trimmed down, focussed, and with a little more time spent on the little things on putting together a release – it could become the coherent, consistent, and wholesome work that we all want it to be, and would then, through lack of filler, dispel suspicion that Milk Maid aren’t quite into the music that they’re making. As a full-length, however – although it has a lot to offer – Yucca is a little hit and miss.

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