Before I clicked to watch What Made Milwaukee Famous' video for "Gone and Done Now," I had high hopes, based on the goofy name and the screenshot of a mustachioed dude in aviator shades, that this band would be some kind of overblown Queen-style throwback group like Cincinnati's Foxy Shazam.
Milwaukee is no Foxy Shazam, but "Gone and Done Now" is a fun, jangly song with a silly video. There's no trace of that humor in the press kit for this Austin indie band, which courts Pitchfork, talking about its "lush instrumentation" and tour dates with Black Keys and Snow Patrol.
Milwaukee's most recent album, You Can't Fall off the Floor, has some great, catchy tracks and talented musicianship, when it's not trying too hard to live up to the lush instrumentation reputation. The album is good at times, like on the sad-sack country track "Sorry (Again)" or the short, snappy rocker "Prescription for Purpose," but some of the songs sound like an over-frosted indie cake. I doubt the band can sound like this live, unless they bring flute and violin players on tour. It's nice that the Milwaukee fellows make such variable records, but they might take a cue from writers, and kill their darlings to be more cohesive.