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Review: London’s YOWL Debut ‘Milksick’ is a Brooding Imagination of their Deepest Trepidations

In a hedonistic world of gluttony, ambition and greed, it’s easy to forget the school assemblies, Aesop’s fables, and pious infant teachings that paved the way for assured, wholesome living. Putting the misgivings of adulthood back under this microscope, are the disgruntled raconteurs of South London five-piece, YOWL, and their debut album ‘Milksick’.

A collection of outlandish cautionary tales, the proto-punks get stuck in with the palpable imagery of opener ‘Virile Crocodile Sweat’. With strident guitars echoing the sounds of The Pink Fairies and MC5, the London locals present a whip-smart take on the genre’s fledging years. Best served on a tedious Monday morn, the icy, industrial nature of ‘The Machine’ reflects an all too familiar, monotonous, working week. With a jangle-pop-esque intro, ‘Donkey’s Jawbone’ taps into the self-conscious anxiety that comes with our aesthetics.

Reaching a mellifluous arc of the LP’s narrative, ‘Positive Exit’ and ‘Canis’ are a pleasing swell of laid-back riffs and delicate vocals. Jolting us back into gear, ‘The Farmer’s Big Spade’ cries urgency in frontman Gabriel Byrde’s pained delivery. Like a whistling kettle left to boil, ‘Weedkiller’ simmers before reaching an emphatic climax. Well and truly in their devilish stride, ‘The Weatherman’ harks of a glam-rock tune, drenched in macabre.

Slipping into the shoes of their former ‘ATROPHY’ EP, ‘A. Wegener’ and ‘Idiot Daughters, Idiot Sons’ emanate the band’s signature sullen sounds – ones for the heel-draggers amongst us. A pensive pause for thought, penultimate track ‘Billy’s Birds’ finds itself quietly confident in deep contemplation. A fragile folk-rock ending to the proceedings, ‘A Birthday With David’ will bring an unexpected tear to your eye, with its melancholic vulnerability.

Finding the weak spots of the nitty and the gritty, YOWL’s debut is a brooding imagination of their deepest trepidations.

 

‘Milksick’ is out now. Order your copy/listen in full here.

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