Fightmilk - Contender | Album Review

The gang releases a new album. Seamlessly blending upbeat indie-pop with the more sombre tones of midwest emo, London’s Fightmilk are set to soar (high as a crow) in their new era. With a fresh addition to their line up on bass and a drive to create their most coherent body of work to date, the bands new record Contender is poised to break new ground for the band and propel them forward into a glimmering future.

Despite opening with the line “I’ve fucked it, sorry”, Contender is packed with triumphant, bombastic moments. From the striving forward away from the melancholy vibe of ‘Lucky Coin’, to the gentle dismay of ‘I’m Starting To Think You Don’t Even Want To Go’, there’s nary a moment on this record that isn’t wholly captivating. Invoking tones similar to classic artists like emo stalwarts Motion City Soundtrack, the upbeat pop tempo of The Wombats and ranging over to the fresher faced folksy-rockers Fatherson, Fightmilk have really upped their game this time around, with punchy, catchy lines like “watching interstellar didn’t make it better” from the aforementioned ‘I’m Starting To Think...’, alongside the infectious yet gentle guitar rhythms present on songs like “The Absolute State Of Me” and ‘If You Had A Sister...’, this a band in their stride who’ve landed upright into their fully realised musical identity.

‘Hey Annabelle’ captures the kind of jump up and down singalong essence you might expect from the likes of Fresh and Brian Fallon when he’s working with all the bells and whistles of a full band setup. The delicate percussion on ‘Girls Don’t Want To Have Fun’ and the chimey synths present within ‘Cool Cool Girl’ give a familiar aura that ultimately ensures Contender emits an inviting aura that allows the lyrical exploration of both those surface level and our more deeply buried down emotions whilst maintaining an uplifting smile on its face the whole way through.

Even the pacing of the album seems meticulously calculated and poised, a healthy scattering of both down and up tempo tunes keep the record ticking steadily over until delivering the fantastic ‘Overbite’ as the albums triumphant last hurrah. A song about seeing the beauty in what others may consider to be imperfection with a colossal chorus to back up its heartfelt message of fondness. With Contender, Fightmilk truly are contenders in the album of the year contest, and it’s evident that they’ve really gone for the gold here. Well, it certainly seems like they’ve earned it this time, Contender wins over these judges with a triple hit of awkward charm, sunny disposition and underdog spirit.

Score: 9/10

Contender is released May 14th via Reckless Yes.

Pre-order the record here.