The genre-evading and completely dysfunctional no wave scene is characteristically very abrasive and dissonant. Many would be fooled into believing that this style could not be full of hooks, catchy as hell and just downright pleasant without it compromising on its nihilism and lack of convention. Well, Milk TV did not get the memo. After signing to EXAG’ Records earlier this month, the Brussels trio have released their newest single, One Leg Performer, which reeks of nonconformity and cynicism, but by God, is it fascinating to listen to.
What makes One Leg Performer so appealing is the litany of variation and changes throughout. There is a loose structure, but the song is more a series of repeating motifs, such as the brilliantly jangly vocal sections. The punctuating rhythm, crunchy bass and ponderous, barely evolving guitar melody creates a stuttering and feet shifting jaunt, while relaxed vocals saunter and tell the tale of a one-legged man. It is singable, yet the interluding phrases that connect each verse create a sense of doom and dread; they are laying down the foundations for the apocalypse. Sure enough, a chorus of anxiety and unease descends, which immediately snaps you out of the playful verse and assaults your ears in an all-consuming manner. However, this isn’t the fear that has been teased. Oh no! It’s the outro instrumental that cements that chaos and nervousness. The haunting, trembling guitars, the funk-fuelled bass and the unforgiving spasm of drums attack before ascending into a noisy barrage of rhythmic hits that eventually relent and give way to peace once more.
One Leg Performer isn’t a one-trick pony. Its excessive levels of unease and rhythmic disorder, coupled with hooks and an extremely hummable main motif, begs for multiple plays. “He puts his foot in your mouth”.