Milk White Throat
Milk White Throat
posted on 9/2011 By:
There's a hard distinction between knowing the capital-G-goods when you hear them and having it in your marrow to dish them out. Milk White Throat's self-titled debut, available for free download through their Bandcamp page, establishes the band as knowers, but not-quite-yet-deliverers of said "goods." It's not a terrible commodity to possess during your giving-music-away-for-free stage, but it’s still a hard sell.
"Knowing the Goods," as witnessed in nature, is a socio-evolutionary trait shared by music critics and independent record label operators and that one fucking kid with the Exciter back patch you always see on the Metro. By "Knowing the Goods" you can figure out what works in good music and movies and TV shows. You know what the fuck is cool. I'd like to think that I at least have an idea of "the goods," and I know for sure that Milk White Throat can sniff 'em out. A song like "Home" recalls the work of brick-laying post-hardcore acts like Buried Inside and (early) Transmission0. "Mother I" riffs in a definitively non-"experimenting with space" sort of way before channeling a style of guitar/vocal interplay that sold lots of records for A Perfect Circle.
I know that Milk White Throat knows "the goods" because their debut is a love letter to them.
And so that is where that hard distinction comes into play. I have no fucking clue if most of the best bands that I've heard lay pick to steel have any idea of what the fuck the goods are. Because, when I listen to them, I don't hear knowing references to the goods, rather I feel the hard rattle of delivery in my neck.
No such rattling occurs when I listen to Milk White Throat. Instead, I nod. At their best, Milk White Throat holds up a mirror the most winning attributes of the heavier side of the post-hardcore movement. There's an urgency and momentum in these performances. The engine in songs like "On the Road" tells but doesn’t quite show that this band is trying to do something beyond merely cobbling together odes to the lesser lights of the Hydra Head roster circa 2005 in hopes of earning the props of fellow goods-knowers. And yet, that nod never quite gets a-banging.
MWT's inability to really push the needle may also owe to the fact that they're forwarding a nearly strip-mined style from which only a few practitioners seem capable of retrieving gold. And though they're clearly hip to what has made this style work in the past, it absolutely takes more than a conjuration of those sounds to produce something vital in 2011.
And so this probably all comes back to the truly uninteresting but undeniable axiom that art-as-transaction is worthwhile when artist extends a piece of self. On their self-titled debut, Milk White Throat feels absent and in their place are some familiar proxies to whom I can only tip my hat and nod.
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