Milky Wimpshake are one of those understated British institutions like Blu-Tack or Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce that probably wouldn't go amiss in everyday life yet is strangely satisfying and purposeful, even when more popular options are available. Before anyone screams 'Who are ya?!?' with the fervour of an Old Trafford regular about to greet the Albanian runners-up in a Champions League qualifier, let's embark on a brief history lesson.
Formed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne during 1993's grunge flavoured winter of discontent by pop star in waiting Pete Dale, their line-up has unsurprisingly changed several times since, even if the musical stylings and overall sentiment hasn't. Aesthetically as twee as they come, Milky Wimpshake seem to have almost permanently existed between a rock and a hard place, having arrived seven years to late for the C86 boom for which their entire output is indebted to, and in many ways peaking too early for that scene's resurgence in recent years.
The First Lady of Twee Amelia Fletcher even makes an appearance here on the penultimate 'Eyeball To Eyeball', a standout moment on My Funny Social Crime of which, to be honesrm there aren't that many. Two of those actually come in the shape of cover versions 'Fuck The Rules' and 'Share A Little Love With Me'. While the former wholeheartedly sticks to the barbed philosophy of Kicking Giant's brutal original, the latter twists The Monitors' old Motown standard into a football terrace chant Jimmy Pursey would be proud of.
That's not to say Dale doesn't have his own way with words. The bass driven punk pop of 'Clicking It' opens its doors with the immortal line "I'm carrying a torch for you, I'll carry your suitcase too" while the escapist folk of 'Itchy Feet On A Tuesday Night' shows his darkside, opining "In the public house I talk to the lads, who just want to be like their mums and dads" as though socialising has become nothing more than a daily chore.
Musically, My Funny Social Crime isn't going to make Matt Bellamy or Jonny Greenwood jump for joy and change their outlook at the discovery of a new chord. Instead, Dale and his current band of assorted 'Wimps' are happy to plod along like the Buzzcocks never split up first time round or The Brilliant Corners are the most adventurous new band on the block. That's not meant as a criticism as such - why would anyone want or expect an outfit like Milky Wimpshake to break the habit of a lifetime and get it completely wrong after all? - but at the same time My Funny Social Crime is hardly the epitome of development either. Like the forgetful old aunt that comes to tea every other Sunday and repeats the same questions over and over again, there also comes a time when you have to interrupt them and say 'Move on!'.
Average then, but one suspects Milky Wimpshake would be quite content with that.
5Dom Gourlay's Score