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The Big Takeover #80 Spring 2017
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Milemarker – Overseas (Lovitt)

Milemarker - Overseas
8 March 2017

Originally from Chapel Hill, NC, and later relocating to Chicago, this strapping synth-punk outfit’s two founders and singers, Al Burian (bass) and Dave Laney (guitars), now reside in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany, respectively. Formed in 1997 by Burian, Laney, and Ben Davis, the band released six albums between 1998 and 2005. Though they didn’t officially break up, they went on a long hiatus following a U.S. and European tour in 2008, with Laney focusing on his other group Auxes (with whom he’s released four LPs) and moving to Hamburg in 2009. Following Burian’s move to Berlin to pursue literary and journalistic interests, they decided to “reignite” Milemarker in Germany. With new recruits Lena Kilkka (keys/vocals) and Ezra Cale (drums) in tow, they played their first show in seven years in 2015. This seventh LP is their first since 2005’s Steve Albini-produced Ominosity.

Previous reviews have cited their penchant for style-shifting, preventing pigeonholing. Right on cue, the pounding opener “Conditional Love,” with its combination of computer-generated robotic voices and chanted human ones, melds industrial dance, krautrock, and post-punk (imagine a Front 242, Kraftwerk, and Killing Joke fusion), while the propulsive, Sisters of Mercy-like “Untamed Ocean” straddles goth, prog-rock, and doom metal. And the sinister, stormy “The Dreamer,” with keyboards that lash like laser beams, guitars that clamor like crashing ocean waves, drums that lurch like lumbering machinery, and a menacing mix of whispered and wailed singing, manages to synthesize all of the above-mentioned genres. Elsewhere, the sweeping “Luxuria” is dynamic dreampop, the shuffling “Recognition” is groovy chillwave, and the spastic “Supercomputer” is wiry electro-funk. With its stratospheric synths, encircling guitars, battering ram drums, and baleful, bellowed vocals, Overseas is a revitalizing return. (lovitt.com, milemarkerband.bandcamp.com)

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