Friday, January 25, 2013

What Made Milwaukee Famous: "You Can't Fall Off the Floor" (album review)

What Made Milwaukee Famous have a knack for the dramatic.  That's obvious from the very first cut of their new album, You Can't Fall Off the Floor, the band's third.

The opener, "Silence Is the Loudest Answer", begins life slowly, but it is constantly creeping towards a grand finale.  Mere notes after attaining it's apex, the music abruptly cuts short, leaving you clamouring for satisfaction.

On the exterior of the band is a pop rock facade.  Horns highlight the playful "Down", while a jittery rhythm sparks "Demons & Monkeys (And You & Me. And Me & Me)".  However, you eventually come to realize that at their heart is twang.  "Sorry (Again)" is a methodical country weeper with clever lyrics.  "Rosewood" is a Josh Ritter-esque modern folker, with an irresistibly running chorus, and the vocal stylings of Kathleen Edwards.

The record's standout track is "Gone and Done It Now".  The song may strike a balance between power pop and roots rock that prior to this may only have existed in myth.

In terms of risk/reward the greatest success on the album may be "Prescription for Purpose".  It's a constantly shifting, scampering number that seems perfectly suited to be part of a rock opera.

Things suffer when the band take a darker turn.  "Just Run" is so bottom-heavy you could dredge a river with it, while "Leftovers" is merely listless.

Good, fun moments far outweigh the sluggish ones as What Made Milwaukee Famous prove that it may be more than just Robin Yount.

Best tracks: "Gone and Done It Now", "Rosewood"

Track listing for You Can't Fall Off The Floor:
  • Silence Is the Loudest Answer
  • Gone and Done It Now
  • Down
  • Rosewood
  • Sorry (Again)
  • Grand Entrance, Awkward Exit
  • Demons & Monkeys (And You & Me. And Me & Me)
  • Swift Justice for Christmas
  • Prescription for Purpose
  • Just Run
  • Leftovers

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