The Milwaukees - This Is A Stickup (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Milwaukees

This Is A Stickup (2003)

Does Everyone Stare?

Lying somewhere between post-punk and indie rock are the Milwaukees, who themselves don't actually lie somewhere between Minnesota and Michigan, but rather good ol' New Jersey.

The music is consistently downtempo, but relatively dynamic in the least. It may not be overwhelming arena rock, but it really just comes off as fairly undercharging indie rock. The haunting feeling the opening line of "tonight I choked in my own way" in "Angel With a Knife" presents shows great promise, but from there things just aren't that interesting. Sure, the vocals are strong, the production lets everything get heard nicely, and it's collectively cohesive, but it's simply not enough. It's sort of like a Static Prevails-era Jimmy Eat World practicing voyeurism on an oblivious Texas is the Reason with Dinosaur Jr. awkwardly trying to get in on the action.

The layout is pure sex, however. Some sort of odd, blurry-looking, gun-wielding, baboon-masked, suit jacket-wearing person sneers his mouth on the cover. A mirror image of it is on the reverse side of the liner notes, with the vinyl-styled track listing displayed. Inside, the introduction explains the twelve steps for "Songs and Icebreakers - Rules for Song Leaders." Each of track's lyrics are accompanied by an explanation/meaning of the song, and are also joined by a small picture with a caption of small philosophy or observation. Under the tray is hypothetical (or are they?) blueprints for what would be...a stickup.