Album review: Fightmilk – Contender

London punks Fightmilk dazzle and delight on excellent second album, Contender

Album review: Fightmilk – Contender
Jake Richardson

Contender, the second LP from South Londoners Fightmilk, encapsulates many different punk-leaning sounds. Indie, pop-punk and alt.pop all rear their head across this album’s 14 tracks, but these somewhat disparate sounds are tied together by the band's inescapable ear for melody, and a charming sense of whimsy that compliments the emotional core of the songs.

Vocalist/guitarist Lily Rae shines throughout, displaying a heartfelt yet hard-hitting demeanour, with the relatable and forthright lyrics of tracks like Lucky Coin – ‘We wake up every morning and we pray the end is quick / The world is just one big dark room that makes you feel sick’ – proving one of this record’s greatest strengths. Another real asset of Fightmilk is their appetite for hooky, melody-driven choruses, such as those on Overbite, which features charmingly straightforward lyricism (‘I think you’re cool / I like your overbite’) and album highlight Cool Cool Girl, which has all the hallmarks of an infectious future indie-pop anthem.

There’s plenty of fun to be had as the songs fly by fast, but to their credit, Fightmilk also excel when they slow things down. Sombre alt.pop number Girls Don’t Want To Have Fun is expertly crafted, and the kind of emotive, dark-yet-hopeful song that demonstrates the life-affirming power alternative music can have.

It’s a joyous riot from start to finish, and all comes together to form a loveable, middle-fingers-up record that furthers the recent work of bands like Dream Nails, Drones and Nova Twins in demonstrating the strength of modern UK punk. And when it comes to 2021’s finest offerings so far, Fightmilk are leading contenders.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Peaness, Muncie Girls, Dream Nails

Contender is released on May 14 via Reckless Yes.

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