What Made Milwaukee Famous Trying To Never Catch Up

Let’s suppress the urge to crack jokes about cheese and beer and move the heart of the matter — this album is a Barsuk reissue of What Made Milwaukee Famous’ 2004 debut. The band have added four new songs to beef up what is a pretty straightforward sampling of guitar pop. Some of the songs that try to draw from the more adventurous fringes of the band’s musical influences succeed in breaking up what could turn into peppy monotony — the clever guitar/synth interplay on opener "IDecide” is particularly memorable — although others just further gum up the works by not doing much of anything ("Judas”). Where the Texas quartet succeed is in bottling their decidedly non-ironic exuberance — see the toothsome Costello-inspired "Hellodrama” or the Strokes-y rock of "Selling Yourself Short.” But too much youthful ebullience can result in such cringe-worthy efforts as "Sweet Lady,” on which singer Michael Kingcaid confronts the object of his affection with this regrettable one-liner: "Haven’t you seen me running around in your dreams?” Trying To Never Catch Up, while serviceable, shouldn’t have anyone rushing to anoint this bunch as Death Cab’s successors to the neo-emo throne. (Barsuk)