The Dead Milkmen: Pretty Music For Pretty People (self-released, 2014)

October 4, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Dead Milkmen: Pretty Music For Pretty People

The Dead Milkmen: Pretty Music For Pretty People

Philadelphia’s greatest band ever delivers their second album this decade, after taking a decade and a half off (their last album was 1995’s Stoney’s Extra Stout (Pig), after which they broke up, took up other projects, and bassist Dave Blood tragically killed himself in 2004). Self-released, as was their last album, and they put a lot of care into the packaging, and they include the lyrics, which of course is great. Musically, it sounds like the Milkmen, basically; some of it is uptempo punk rock, but there’s slower, sometimes more serious songs, and a little bit more synth than I remember hearing on their older albums (lead singer Rodney Anonymous is a huge industrial fan, and he even namechecks digital hardcore band Ambassador21 on “Make It Witchy”, and Mute Records flagship act The Normal on “Dark Clouds Over Middlemarch”). A lot of the time with this band, the melodies and even verses seem kind of secondary, as if they just came up with a great/funny song title and just built everything else around it, but sometimes that’s all you need. Some things just need to be said, and they just come out and say it, and it’s great. As with the last album, they’re even more pissed off with the world as ever; the title track starts off the album blasting the music industry and “Big Words Make The Baby Jesus Cry” is about the world being brainwashed into being Christian and dumb. “Mary Anne Cotton (The Poisoner’s Song)”, “Somewhere Over Antarctica”, and “Sanitary Times” are the more serious songs that one of the other band members (probably Joe Jack Talcum, or maybe Dean Clean) sings lead on instead of Rodney; “Mary Anne Cotton” is kind of psychedelic folk-pop, “Somewhere Over Antarctica” is a bit darker, like The Church or something, and “Sanitary Times” is a darkly humorous string-synth-laden tune about selling tombs. “Streetlamps/Walking to Work” starts out as a peppy surf instrumental, then turns into a song about ignoring tragedy and not saving people’s lives because of being late to work. “All You Need Is Nothing” puts being poor into perspective; if you have nothing, what is really essential, what can you live without? Love is expensive, it isn’t even part of the question. “Hipster Beard”, somewhat disappointingly, is not actually a song about hipster beards, a subject the Milkmen surely have something amusing to say about. But this is a band that named an original song “I Am The Walrus”, so they’re not immune to playing with your expectations with their song titles. I can’t say there’s anything as astonishingly brilliant/hilarious as “Stuart” on here, nor is there another insanely catchy/funny ditty like “Punk Rock Girl”, but really, it doesn’t matter because the fact that the Dead Milkmen are still around, and they still write Dead Milkmen songs and sound like the Dead Milkmen, and they still play live and tour, means that something is right in this world. I’ve said this before, but my appreciation and respect for this band has only increased as I’ve aged.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: