On Cruise Your Illusion, the first proper full-length from Olympia, Washington’s Milk Music, the quartet wedges itself somewhere within the SST Records-Neil Young-Wipers universe, pitting sweat-stained, heavy hardcore punk against indelible melodies and endless sincerity. Since their early output, a 2009 demo cassette and a 12-inch in 2010, the band has turned their DIY determination into full-fledged ambition, and the songs on Cruise are as honest and spiritual as they are messy and loud. On “Lacey’s Secret,” Alex Coxen’s shouting, imperfect voice cuts through the instrumental heap with lines that that scan endearingly like poetry in a rest-stop bathroom: “You got to get all you can here/ when you’re burning every night”.
The songs on Cruise Your Illusion bask in youthful charm. “…And although the sun sets heavy on the dreamer/ You can feed your pain to the song,” Coxens sings on “No, Nothing, My Shelter” as the band rips into the overdriven wail of “Coyote Road” before running amok on “I’ve Got A Wild Feeling,” a populist manifesto that might as well be the band’s anthem. When Milk Music started out, their songs were loud, fast and full of Big Muff. And while the sound is still bruising on their debut, they’ve found a larger scope and a deeper message. On “Cruising With God” Coxen invites the listener into the band’s inner sanctum: “They all love our songs/ But even with the music on/ Baby you’ve got it all wrong/ You haven’t danced in so long.”