What Made Milwaukee Famous
Trying To Never Catch Up
This Austin-based quartet is better than their beer commercial name might suggest. Assimilating 80’s new wave, old-school synth sounds and 90’s modern rock, guitarist/vocalist Michael Kingcaid and company deliver an energetic set of tunes, marred only by the amateurish production.
Opener “IDECIDE” moves forward on a spooky Cure-like bass line, over-loud drums and a synth sequencer. New wave-y guitars and distorted vocals make “Mercy, Me” sound a bit like The Strokes. The jangle pop of “Almost Always Never” features soaring falsetto vocals and nice harmonies. “Hellodrama” is catchy, Cars-like pop with a strong vocal performance. “Short on Shields” has impressive vocals as well, but its rinky-dink production detracts from the song’s ability to cast a mood. You get the feeling that the cheesy-sounding “Next to Him” could also have been salvaged with better production.
Elsewhere, the album’s title track has a more expansive, textured sound that recalls 90’s modern rockers like Dishwalla. “Curtains!” seems to be on the right track, though not quite there yet, bringing to mind The Posies and The Dambuilders, among others. The bizarrely-titled “Bldg. A Boat From the Boards In Your Eye” affects a faux party atmosphere with some jaunty harpsichord and trumpet along the way. And “Around the Gills” is a heavy guitar rocker that wanders around a bit too much but picks up steam at certain key points.
Their focus isn’t quite laser sharp and their ambitions often exceed the grasp of their musicianship and production abilities, but What Made Milwaukee Famous show their hearts are clearly in the right place. Give ’em some time, and one day they might have the buzz of 80’s revisionists like Franz Ferdinand, Interpol and The Killers.
What Made Milwaukee Famous: www.whatmademilwaukeefamous.com