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July 31, 2000

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FRIGID FORMS SELL

What exactly do you call Milemarker? New-wave? Hardcore? Industrial? Some odd, completely new hybrid of all of those forms of music? Probably the latter, because Milemarker are not easily defined.

Milemarker is probably the band for the new millennium, combining traditional rock and hardcore sounds with synthesizers and electronic hints. But don't think this has been done before. The band plays fast, loud, biting music, only they throw in plenty of keyboards and electronic sounds to spice things up. And while they might not get quite as loud or screaming as some hardcore bands, the driving, sonic guitars and shouted vocals are an interesting contrast to the new-wave style keyboards.

Starting off with a very mechanized, synthesizer-driven intro, the band breaks right into "Frigid Forms Sell You Warmth," definitely a hardcore track but not one quite as powerful and driving as some of Milemarker's label-mates. Singer Al Burian gets up to screaming at several points, but he's mostly shouting, and the band supplies back-up vocals. The song even breaks down and gets softer but not really melodic, and the keyboards kick in. The mechanized voices and sounds, more than just keyboards, are felt most on "Signal Froze," which features vocals from Roby Newton, singing out "turn off the microwave and defrost the world." This song's almost danceable, with its synthesized beat and noises. On "Sex Jams One: Sexual Machinery," Burian shouts out, "she looked at me with the biggest brown eyes, and she screamed to me do you want to fuck!" This one's much more blasting and blaring rock, losing the keyboards. My favorite track is probably its sequal, "Sex Jams Two: Insect Incest," which uses dual vocals and a disjointed, blaring guitar attack that brings back the best days of Jawbox. Burian screams out here repeatedly, "yeah, yeah, oh yeah!" But then the band brings back the keyboards and synthesized sound, as well as Newton's vocals, singing sweetly but darkly on "Cryogenic Sleep." "Industry For the Blind" has that Jawbox-style drum focus and dual-vocals but with a more hardcore sound, while "Tundra" is a sound all their own, with Burian and Newton singing together for a very dark, almost industrial feel. "Server Error" slows things down a bit, with the vocals distorted and a mechanical feel throughout this odd rock song. And the band ends with the slower "Platinum," which goes from fast and blaring guitars to slower with more spoken vocals and a wash of synthesized noises beneath it all.

There is definitely a futuristic atmosphere on Frigid Forms Sell, as Milemarker incorporates not just electronic noises and beats but an electronic theme throughout the album. The contrast of driving guitar-focused hardcore and mechanized, keyboard-driven new-wave stylings make for something completely different, something that's perfectly suited for the 21st century.

PUBLICATION
Delusions of Adequacy

AUTHOR
Jeff Marsh

DIRECT LINK TO ARTICLE
http://www.adequacy.net