It has been 16 years since we've had something new from The Dead Milkmen. That changed recently, with the digital only release of The King in Yellow. To say this is an exciting release would be an understatement, but it begs the question, are we excited about the nostalgic possibilities, or the music?
The first thing I noticed when listening to through the songs was the production quality. I listened to some old Dead Milkmen afterward and got the impression they were four dudes with 3 microphones in an attic recording. It didn't diminish the music, but it is what I expected to hear again. The songs on King are more polished, the drums come through clearly without that classic twang on the snare, the other instruments are nicely balanced and the vocals are clear and easy to hear. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does take away from the nostalgia. The songs themselves, however, will bring it back.
While not every song is going to bring back visions of cruising in the back of your friend's Ford Tempo on the way to Ocean City, NJ in the summer of your 19th year, some of them will. There is still some intelligently veiled social commentary - especially on songs like "Fauxhemia" that takes issue with pop music and "Meaningless Upbeat Happy Song" which takes more issue with the "culture of fear", and some general Dead Milkmen wackiness can be found on "Melora Says", it's pretty clear these guys have gotten a little older. The album is fun to listen to, if a little slower on most tracks tan expected of the Dead Milkmen.
When all is said and done, it's worth the download. It brings back some memories and reminds us all that this world is full of people who look a lot like Gavin MacLeod.
Where to find them:
- The Dead Milkmen Website is currently the only place to get it
- Their back catalog is available on iTunes