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Cruise Your Illusion

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Album Review

All output from Olympia, Washington nostalgia-punk quartet Milk Music before their full-length Cruise Your Illusion pointed pretty directly to the influence of SST record's roster of late-'80s and early-'90s guitar-centric post-punk bands. The angular ruggedness barely concealing pop cores recalled Hüsker Dü, the stripped-down production aesthetic hinted at the economical approach of the Minutemen, and just about everything else echoed resoundingly of Dinosaur Jr. With this 12-song debut, the band keep their backward-looking esthetic but also manage to deliver a sound that's developed past its immediately recognizable influences. This change isn't due to the usual polished production values that sometimes clean up a band's sound. Cruise Your Illusion, recorded on four tracks of 1/2" tape, relies completely on analog warmth and the power of the performances to move the album along. Beginning with the instrumental introduction "Caged Dogs Run Wild," the album is nothing more than the sound of a great band playing in a room. Rockers like "New Lease on Love" and "Runaway" definitely recast the melodic buzz of Dinosaur Jr.'s most primitive and earliest albums, and vocalist Alex Coxen's howling vocals sit somewhere between J. Mascis' froggy baritone, Bob Mould's sneering bite, and the tormented wailing of the Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Guitars definitely take the lead role of the production, with the drums sometimes sink into the background behind the walls of fuzzy tones. While the SST throwback vibes are still high in the mix, Milk Music also explores the jammier territory of Crazy Horse, or even a more rudimentary nod to the noodly textures of the Dead with grooving tracks like "Crosstown Wanderer" or a series of instrumental interludes. However, it's never long before the band is bounding back into raging guitar solos, symphonies of feedback, and Coxen's braying lead vocals, delivering lines as ear catching as "Let's steal a car, I know this crazy guy" and as dumb as "Got to get high or we're gonna die" in a guttural Greg Sage growl. Cruise Your Illusion holds enough of the band's personality to keep them from being a '90s cover band, but at times, the weight of their ragged influences sits heavy enough on the songs to obscure their most original aspects. However, much as Dinosaur Jr. were called out for being blatant Neil Young appropriators in their early days, the most interesting parts of Cruise Your Illusion show Milk Music having potential to outgrow their SST roots and bloom into something completely different.

Customer Reviews

Great!

Awesome album. I had a ton of fun just sitting and listening to the whole thing!

Overall a strong album

I liked their previous album a lot more, but this is a strong effort. What is admirable about Milk Music is their ability to integrate all their influences, mainly Dinosaur Jr. and The Alman Brothers, yet still come up with a sound uniquely their own. There are moments in the album that plod along and or seem slightly indulgent, but this is a fine album by a talented young band that still hasn't reached their full potential.

Pure Magic

When listen to these guys it's not only chill but you can feel the fingers just dancing on the guitar. It's sounds fluid and rough which I like and I believe this is an awesome album. Definitely recommend checking out this entire album and the previous one.

Biography

Formed: 2008 in Olympia, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Combining the driving hooks of the Wipers, slashing riffs of Hüsker Dü, and melodic-on-the-edge-of-control vocals of early Dinosaur Jr., Milk Music reinvent early- to mid-'80s SST-style hardcore punk and '90s lo-fi Pacific Northwest influences for a new generation. Formed in Olympia, Washington, the band is comprised of singer/guitarist Alex Coxen, drummer (and Coxen's brother) Joe Rutter, guitarist Charles Warring, and bassist Dave Harris. A self-titled, self-released cassette offered in 2009 introduced...
Full Bio
Cruise Your Illusion, milk music
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