CD Review of American Anthems Vol. 1 by The Milwaukees
Recommended if you like
Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis,
Bon Jovi
City Desk
The Milwaukees:
American Anthems Vol. 1

Reviewed by Mike Farley


t’s fitting that the Milwaukees hail from New Jersey – and that’s not a sarcastic remark aimed at anyone deficient in geography. It’s because these guys have Jersey boys Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi pulsing through their musical veins. So maybe Milwaukee is in Wisconsin and not New Jersey, but the band’s name represents the middle-of-America feel to their music anyway. An independent release, American Anthems Vol. 1 is the Milwaukees’ third effort, and it’s as good an album as you’ll ever find from a band without a label. These four dudes deliver a guitar-driven rock album with both blazing highway songs and impressive power ballads, and it’s a refreshing diversion from what radio and TV are constantly trying to force-feed us.

“Moonshaker” is the perfect starter – singer Dylan St. Clark and guitarist Jeff Nordstedt lead the way on an up-tempo track complete with horn embellishments. St. Clark also flexes his vocal cords on “Breakup Song,” and “Highway to the Sun” is an American anthem if there ever was one. On the latter, as well as on the ballad, “Crown Royal,” you’ll close your eyes and think of Huey Lewis – in fact, the vocal resemblance is uncanny. Other standouts are the riffy “Rich & Famous,” the jangly yet heartfelt “Oak Ridge,” and the Bon Jovi-ish “Marigold,” which may be a bit too long, but really won’t have you ejecting this CD, either. Oh, who are we kidding? The whole album is a standout. “Save Me” is another simple – yet really killer – rock song a la Springsteen.

If you’re a fan of unpretentious rock music that uses guitars and strong melodies to deliver songs that are, for lack of a better term, All-American, you’re going to love the Milwaukees. Critics have been jumping on the bandwagon already, and for good reason. American Anthems Vol. 1 is one of those records you can put on and realize that there really are some rock bands out there that still get it, even if they don’t understand geography.

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