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September 18, 2000

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Milemarker does not fake the funk -- Anaesthetic is seven tracks of pure adrenalin funneled through a magnificent artistic vision that will leave your legs shaking and your ears begging for more. Milemarker succeeds on the strength of the music -- which is not only rare in the post-hardcore world of whiny pop bands, but important because the packaging on the CD alone is enough to alienate a listener. First of all, these guys call themselves the Milemarker People’s Liberation Army or the Milemarker Entertaiment and Reprogramming Consulate -- which if taken with a healthy dose of irony is funny, however judging by the heavy handed tendencies of their lyrics -- this seems like a band without much irony in their diet. Secondly, the CD comes devoid of anything except a pink cardboard insert, no lyrics, no band information, and oh, no song titles either. Which is fine if you have a stereo that can read and display song titles or if you can log onto the web -- where giant corporate sites like CDNow or Amazon display all the song titles -- otherwise you’re out of luck.

Amazingly the music overcomes the packaging -- “Shrink To Fit” is a short little ditty that kicks off the album and will make you want to move, relying on a synthesizer hook that will keep you off the wall without having to recall any bad eighties bands. Then “Food For Worms” comes crashing through with all the apocalyptic glory of Radiohead at their best. Vocalist Al Burian reaching operatic levels, carries this track as it builds and crashes and swirls around you leaving you breathless. The next five songs alternate between the shorter punchier jams -- reminiscent of where Jawbox was heading at the end of their career, and the epic six or seven minute pieces that display the band’s wide breath of vision. Milemarker is amazingly efficient; not wasting a chord, bridge or melody, each song is well planned -- carrying out the band’s vision with remarkable precision. The lyrics paint a picture of a cold corporate world, where everything and everyone is replaceable -- another cog in a giant money making machine - with cloning (listen to “Ant Architect”) the latest method used to ensure the machine with an endless supply of workers.

With all their pretensions and the heaviness of their agenda, Milemarker could have easily fallen on their faces. Instead they deliver a devastatingly brilliant record. Critics are often too eager to brand a band innovative or falsely accuse them of forwarding music -- Milemarker are guilty of both feats.


Adam Dlugacz