Eat Your Paisley

The Dead Milkmen

Fever / Restless Records, 1986

http://www.deadmilkmen.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/15/2000

Big Lizard In My Backyard, the debut release from punk-rock quartet The Dead Milkmen, helped win them a fan base thanks to the novelty and alternative-rock hit "Bitchin' Camaro". Eat Your Paisley, the group's second album, almost washed out that first wave of fame.

It's not that it's a bad album - indeed, it has some very good moments on it. But overall, Rodney Anonymous Melloncamp (as he called himself this album) and crew aren't able to live up to the firecracker that was their first effort. What should have been a defining statement from the band, instead, becomes a "don't forget we're still here" whisper. Too bad.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Naturally, it would be foolish to expect the band to write another "Bitchin' Camaro" - even though their musical style of giving the finger to popular culture almost guaranteed they pigeonholed themselves. But a good portion of the music on this album is pleasant, but uninspired. Tracks like "Beach Party Vietnam," "Take Me Apart," "Earwig" and "Swampland Of Desire" don't have the kind of bite that their fans might have come to expect. And songs like "Two Feet Off The Ground" drag on far too long for their own good - how long can anyone continuously scream the word "ground"?

When they do hit the target, as they do on "Air Crash Museum" and "Moron," there still is a bit of promise left unfulfilled by the band. Again, these are not bad tracks, but they don't show a lot of progress in the songwriting department.

Where one does see improvement is in the musicianship demonstrated by guitarist Joe Jack Talcum, bassist Dave Blood and drummer Dean Clean. Musically, The Dead Milkmen are a much tighter unit than they were on Big Lizard In My Backyard, especially evident on the instrumental "KKSuck2". (The singing, however, is joyously hopeless.)

The only track which does show the kind of brilliance fans had come to expect is on "The Fez," a song which tackles popular songs (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) and science at the same time. It's a bit of a bizarre trip, but is one worth taking.

The Dead Milkmen would strike gold again on a few occasions, but Eat Your Paisley isn't one of them. It's worth checking out if you're a diehard fan of the band, but if you've lived this long without hearing it, you're not missing much.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Fever / Restless Records, and is used for informational purposes only.