What Made Milwaukee Famous

    {grate 3.5} With a band name like What Made Milwaukee Famous, listeners
    pretty damn well expect to hear 40 minutes of toe-tapping melodies and lyrical
    goodness that keeps them salivating for more. But lo and behold, the Austin
    indie-pop band’s What Doesn’t Kill Us falls a bit short of a tasty helping of
    musical genius, and is instead doused in sludgy tunes and country crooning.

    The first track, “Blood, Sweat & Fears,” poorly
    introduces the record. Michael Kincaid groans about a rehab stay, creepily
    crying out, “I don’t know how I got into this mess/ I must have been pulled/ On
    my hands and knees/ By my hair and teeth.”

    But rather than inducing a chipper Amy Winehouse doo-wop
    vibe, the constant droning of a moody riff and heavy synth leaves listeners
    dazed and confused as to what they just heard.

    “The Right Place
    is another disappointingly ambitious song with whining drum and guitar
    melodies, sounding annoyingly similar to the overplayed raucousness of the
    emotionally drunk, eyeliner-wearing lads of Green Day.

    Still, it wouldn’t be fair to diss the entire album without
    giving praise to the mellifluous, Decemberists-esque sounds of “Resistance
    .” As the first single, and for good reason, the
    band trades in brassy hooks for more subtle acoustic strumming and tender piano
    notes, thus making an impressive transformation that is sure to cheer up bummed
    fans. “And the Grief Goes On …” is another song worthy of multiple listens with
    its catchy, galloping pop beat in the breath of the Format.

    That said, don’t be sad, friends. Take it from the band’s
    album name and Kanye’s cheesy-but-ever-so-catchy cliché, What Doesn’t Kill Us
    only makes What Made Milwaukee Famous stronger.

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