Posted by Sam Saunders.
Reviewed on 13th September 2009.
Live at Leeds Festival 2009 on Sunday, 30th August 2009
Milk White White teeth are a fabulous prospect. As far as I can see there are eight people on stage, including two cornet players and enough other instruments for a small music college. It's a lot, anyway. The best of such numbers is that at any one time there are eight voices on call, for some very uplifting moments of well-made harmony.
The least best of it (it has to be said) is that the quality of orchestration and playing is not all at the same standard exhibited by some of the other bands in this big folk/rock/orchestra/choir field (Noah and The Whale were fabulous the day before on Leeds' Main Stage). Never mind, that can be sorted, and limits on microphone and instrument channels in the pa no doubt pinched a few toes. The principal voices and players in Milk White White Teeth are excellent and the songs are solid gold.
The offer of a free demo at the end causes a pleasantly wild grab fest down at the barrier, and people go scurrying to get more. "Train Attendants" is such a good song, and its mesmerising chorus has a joyous bouncy tune that uses all that the band do best, while pasting massive smiles on every available face. "Brick Don't Burn" is joy to hear and "The Prize Fighter" (also on that demo) has a sad ukulele lament of romantic tragi-comedy - with beautiful harmony singing, of course.
As a Festival treat, Milk White White teeth have exceeded all expectations. They were one of my personal Festival highlights. The choice now, I suppose, is whether they want to stay lovely and a little bit wonky or go a bit more Stalinist and tighten up the arrangements and some of the playing.