Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Record label: Fat Cat
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
We should have guessed that advances in digital technology would only lead artists to embrace the warmth and grit of analog recording. We can now lay down a flawless, airless track, but is that really what we want to be listening to for the rest of time? Of course not. We want those rough edges, that imperfection. We want our music to sound as human as the inside of our heads.
Following their 2011 debut, Yucca, by only a year, Milk Maid's Mostly No walks a constant line between obscuring bandleader Martin Cohen's pop-friendly bedroom garage melodies and bringing them into the forefront. Though assisted by a crew of various drummers and auxiliary players, Milk Maid is very much Cohen's baby. He wrote all the songs, played most of the instruments, and recorded and mixed the album in his Manchester apartment.
It might feel as though, between powerhouse records like Ty Segall's Slaughterhouse and Hair, and likeminded acts including King Tuff, Spacin', and White Fence proper, there might not be much room in 2012 for Manchester, England's Martin Cohen, whose band Milk Maid has gone and offered up its second LP in the midst of a welcome glut of high quality, free-wheeling garage rock. Unlike those aforementioned dudes, Cohen is pretty by-the-book: On Mostly No, there are no scuzzbag rockabilly numbers, no fuzz wars, no ambient brain-slushers. There are some gnarly rave-ups, for sure, but none worthy of a record sleeve sporting a be-skulled, axe-wielding bat.
The second album from Manchester's Milk Maid – not to be confused with the terrific US band Milk Music – is part dreamy British indie and part frazzled US psych-rock, albeit perhaps never quite as dreamy or frazzled as it could have been. Bandleader Martin Cohen, formerly of Nine Black Alps, sets the tone straight away with opener Dopamine, as its big, sunny guitar jangle and reverb-heavy vocal give way to a minor paisley explosion of feedback and woozy wailing. The tempo shifts quickly up on the stompier, garagey Do Right, the scene of more guitar-led storm fronts and a melody that motors away nicely, before Stir So Slow settles back into the album's predominant mid-to-slow pace.
Martin Cohen spent nearly 10 years playing bass for Manchester alt-rockers Nine Black Alps before heading out on his own in 2011, taking on the moniker Milk Maid for his solo project. His second album with Fat Cat Records, Mostly No, is a disc-ful of psych-tinged rock stompers recorded in glorious lo-fi, Cohen making use of every fuzzy layer he can manage. Released less than a year after Milk Maid’s debut, Yucca, this batch of tunes is fun, loose, and wild, though it can drag in places in its brief 32 minutes.
While Mostly No was birthed in singer-songwriter Martin Cohen's Manchester apartment, the inspiration for the record lies thousands of miles west. Milk Maid's consistently-good second album has been crafted from Cohen's love of a glittering list of American guitar groups, be it the driving chime of The War On Drugs or the bittersweet melodies of Big Star. Mostly No follows hot on the heels of last summer's Yucca, a debut which showcased Cohen's ear for a fuzz-drenched melody.
Songwriter Martin Cohen is in thrall to his influences, but this is a strong second LP. Noel Gardner 2012 Martin Cohen founded Milk Maid in 2009 as a solo project allowing him to flex his songwriter muscle away from Nine Black Alps, briefly hyped Mancunian alt-rock sorts for whom he played bass. He’s since left the group, turning his focus to Milk Maid; second album Mostly No, like 2011 debut full-length Yucca, was recorded in his house.