Milk 'n Cookies were a band from Woodmere Long Island that sounded like Sparks mixed with The Three O'Clock. The NYC band Speedies appeared a few years later owing a great debt to Milk 'n Cookies as well.
The problem with sound comparisons is that they usually mean "so and so sounds like [a poor imitation of] band X." Not so for Milk 'n Cookies. This CD is a joy start to finish. There are no not-quite-jelled-yet demos or late period embarrasments - all the stuff on this CD is really good.
Milk 'n Cookies was formed by Ian North (who played guitar and wrote). Vocals were performed by Justin Straus, who obviously had a great influence on the vocal style of Michael Quercio of the mid-80s LA Paisley Underground band The Three O'Clock. The 'big name' (and oldest member) was bass player Sal Maida. Before joining M'n'C, Sal was bassist for Roxy Music. He toured with them in 1973 and played on the Viva! Roxy Music album. After leaving Milk 'n Cookies in 1976 he joined Sparks, playing on the Big Beat record.
This RPM disc includes the Muff Winwood (Sparks) produced self-titled album released on Island Records in 1976, Good Friends (the B-side of the Little, Lost and Innocent single), Wok 'n' Woll - the track Island made the band leave off their full length), and three tracks that were cut as demos for a deal with Sire.
Tinkertoy Tomorrow was supposed to be a second single (with Wok 'n' Woll as the B-side), but the band was dropped by Island, who had never even promoted the album when it came out.
There are plenty of memorable songs on this CD. Not Enough Girls (In the World) left ripples that could be heard in Boston's Real Kids All Kindsa Girls. Richard Hell's yelps in Love Comes In Spurts could be tracked back to this song as well.
We Go On Dancing is quieter than the other tracks, but just as good as any of them. Most of the other tracks have flourishes that could be found on any early Sparks track. The melodies are tight, the trebly Rickenbacker bass is there, the stinging guitar as well. It is no wonder that thei band was first discovered when Spark's fan club organizer Joseph Fleury gave a tape to John Hewlet, the manager of Sparks and Jook.
You want to know whether you would like this band or not by listening to a single song? Try Good Friends. The track was originally the B-side of their single. The guitar rips as wildly as Paul Weller in the early Jam. The vocals are fey, like Brett Smiley.
Then try Typically Teenage from the later period sire sessions. You'll find a killer melody that would have stood well next to power-pop classics such as The Records Teen-o-rama or Starry Eyes. It is too bad this band never got the break they deserved.
Many great tracks on the CD, great liner notes, great production - everything is in place on this release. A solid buy!