What happens when a futuristic band actually reaches the future? It’s a conundrum faced by Milemarker on their new full-length, Overseas. It’s the group’s first album in 11 years, although it’s been 16 years since their breakthrough, Frigid Forms Sell, was released—and that record set a high bar for synth-infused, sci-fi-informed, forward-thinking post-hardcore. Frigid Forms cast a long shadow, with all its predictions of technophobic numbness and the breakdown of society as we know it into lonely, flash-frozen units. Not to mention Milemarker’s music itself, which propelled the angular innovations of Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu into new realms of robotic otherness.
Luckily, Overseas knows how to honor the past as well as the future. After Milemarker dissolved a few years back, guitarist Dave Laney and bassist Al Burian found themselves, independently of each other, taking up residency in Germany. A reunion ensued, with new members Lena Kilkka (keyboards and vocals) and Ezra Cale (drums) worked into the mix. The result is an album of industrial overtones and unforgiving textures. “Conditional Love,” like Frigid Forms before it, probes the parallels between the machinery of capitalist society and the transactions of romance, delivered with vocoder-chilled vocals and precisely calibrated beats. “Luxuria” opens up a little more space, giving rise to a luscious, retro-new-wave vibe that’s spiked with aggro sloganeering and dreamy menace.
For a band that hasn’t been active in almost a decade, Milemarker don’t show any rust. “Untamed Ocean” is supple and atmospheric, showing off the band’s pretty, catchy side. “Recognition” is an electro-funk workout with a healthy reverence for another group possessing a German postal code, Kraftwerk. But it’s the album’s closer, “Supercomputer,” that best sums up Milemarker’s mix of icy sensuality, synthesized dancefloor dominance, and paradoxical tech-fetishization. “I’m super duper with my supercomputer,” goes the song’s infectious, chanted refrain. Overseas as a whole couldn’t have a more appropriate catchphrase.
Overseas is out via Lovitt Records and is available for pre-order here.