Despite the heyday of Motown being almost half a century in the past, Detroit's most storied record label created not just a string of timeless hits, but a seemingly infinite well of inspiration for artists to drink from. Hailing from Essex, the Milk are the latest band to draw from the well, taking some of the touchstones of classic R&B and the Northern soul of their native England and adding a dash of rock intensity to create their debut album, Tales from the Thames Delta. With its soulful vocals and bouncing rhythms, the album recalls the sweet sounds of the '60s, but with a louder, more crash-and-bang production style to separate themselves from the smoother sounds of Mayer Hawthorne or Aloe Blacc. This the Milk do to avoid pastiche while touching on some of the melodic touchstones that have made that classic sound…well…classic. While this combo of the old and the new isn't anything listeners haven't heard before, it's certainly big on fun, which to its credit, really feels like the goal of Tales. This isn't a record for sitting around and reminiscing about the good ol' days of Stax and Motown, it's an album inspired by that halcyon era that wants you to go out have fun now, without spending a whole lot of brainpower on intellectualizing the history of where it came from. Long story short, if you've come to Tales from the Thames Delta looking for a faithful re-creation of the Motown sound, you'll probably be disappointed, but if it's a good time you seek, the Milk might just have the cure for what ails you.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney