Review: The Milwaukees

The Milwaukees
“This is a Stickup”
(Does Anyone Stare?)

The Milwaukees offer nicely produced yet uninspiring emo. It’s sad, because you know these guys just want to rock and release the tension or demons or whatever it is that’s bothering them, but their genre has just become way too tired. Besides being the worst possible genre name ever — really, are their any bands that are proud to say they’re an emotional rock band? – anything interesting in emo has already been done. Now all we’ve got are bands like the Milwaukees rehashing its worst moments.

These guys are slightly reminiscent of the melodies of fellow New Jerseyites Shadesapart, who 15 years ago carved a pocket in the melodic, clean hardcore sound. Singer/guitarist Dylan Clark’s vocals show some range on the rocking numbers if you can get past the horrendous 15-second a a cappella intro to the first song, “Angel with a Knife.”

As for acoustic ballads like “Call an Ambulance” you’ll dig his softer side if you also dig the vocal stylings of Daniel Johns from Silverchair and Glenn Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket. The album gets worse on “Medicine Hat” and “Without a Blanket” when they forge ahead with their forgettable slowed down rock. The band pulled in producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Jawbox) to polish with songwriting ideas. It’s unclear how much blame he should get for such a bland album.