In 1971, John Lennon famously asked us to "Imagine there's no heaven...Imagine all the people living for today." Lennon was urging an apathetic and lethargic world to make the most of the time it had. On their second LP, What Doesn't Kill Us, Austin's What Made Milwaukee Famous echoes Lennon's sentiments, stressing that salvation cannot come to us if we are preoccupied with obtaining it. "The Other Side," a gentle acoustic number, acknowledges that "We're the ones to blame if absolution is denied / because we were so concerned about the other side." It's strong stuff, and fortunately, the group has enough melodic power to match its statements.
While WMMF has been labeled indie-rock, many of their songs sound like they would be more at home in a stadium than a small rock club. "Self-Destruct," with its compelling melody, appealing blend of electric guitar and piano, and front man Michael Kingcaid's powerhouse vocals, is evocative of Bends-era Radiohead but too inspired to be a mere rip-off. "Cheap Wine," which begins as a quiet ballad featuring only the gentle strumming of bass strings and Kingcaid's dulcet vocals, quickly thrashes into a rousing, chorus that could have 20,000 lighters glowing.
The album does have a few duller tracks, including album opener "Blood, Sweat, And Fears," which is almost too heavy, too electric, to feel at home on What Doesn't Kill Us, but this is forgivable, considering the company the songs are in.