South londoners Milk Kan are a rare breed within the modern world of music. Where many bands would follow trend and conform to synths and effects, these chaps have clearly stuck true to what they believe in. Undisputedly British, they draw on 70's Jamaican soundsystem, old-skool hip hop and latino brass creating a modern interpretation of ska The Specials can be proud of.
Their second album 'The JunkShop' hit the shelves Monday with the launch kicking off at one of the bands favourite haunts, 12 bar, an intimate venue with dusty brick walls and low rise stage, perfect to kick and skank about in. There have been a lot of comparisons surrounding Milk Kan, from The Specials to Mike Skinner. You can compare until the cows come home but placing parallels on this band just wouldn't be fitting. However, one thing to be said about the vocal tone, placement and pronunciation is that they clearly have an affinity with Ian Dury. Rhyming couplets are a consistent trend throughout the record, a refreshing change from over thought ramblings of certain current rap outfits. The choice of topics relay their fun approach and apparent care free attitude, however, they explore each track with witticisms and poignancy that literally make you laugh at the most simple of observations. Kicking off proceedings is title track 'JunkShop'. To actually create an atmosphere in music that literally transports you to a place in which the artist is describing is quite a skill, one in which Milk Kan seemed to have nailed. The punchy brass works in affinity to the aggy vocals and is a fitting start, giving the listener an insight in to the bands "ethos". 'Question This' places subtle use of samples before an almost pulsating organ which throughout the track works as a metronome if you will before it pipes up appropriately for a quick breakdown. Lyrically this track does what it says on the tin, asking questions that we all want to know. A fitting line being "questions are easy, answers are hard". Again, beautifully simple but so spot on. Another great sample in keeps with the trend on the track 'Slinging The Slang'. More precise brass runs consistent apart from the odd tweak and jutter that reminds us that these guys are having a blast. Yet more clever lyrics in the telling of slangs evolution hook you in and make you chuckle. A real tribute and homage to Londoners. Skipping on to mid album, 'Superbad' cleverly offsets and breaks up the continuity by being in a minor key, not only with instruments but matching that alongside the vocals. Ending on a piano breakdown and obscure sci-fi wails. A welcome mix displaying diversity and inspiration. A surefire favourite amongst fans is 'Lego'. Dropping all brass, this tracks reverts back to simplicity which refreshes the musical palette. With a twinkle of the ivories acting as the chorus, this track leads on to the final song 'The Song The Night Owned'. To say this song is an amalgamation of all things wonderful is putting it mildly. It is Romantic and swooning, with dusty violins, slurred and muted trumpets. A very clever song to end an album that runs without flaws. Each song interesting and layered, relentlessly screaming, we are Milk Kan and we are here to resurrect a genre all too easily forgotten about. So, get yourself down to your local record shop and exchange that dull lifeless ten pound note for something a little, no, a lot more colourful. If you can't wait for that, below is a link to get your trumpets blasting. Have a good skank folks!