The Big Letdown
Give Milwaukee stalwart Tim Schweiger credit: The title of his latest album, The Big Letdown, practically dares the former Obsoletes mastermind to create an album that's anything but. Luckily, Schweiger and his trusty band of Middlemen quickly prove themselves up to this self-imposed challenge. Album opener "I Don't Wanna Be Your Friend (I Wish Our Friendship Would End)" sets things off with a bang, wonderfully recalling the bright, sticky-sweet '90s power-pop of Bob Mould's Sugar. Shimmering guitar hooks and a bouncing rhythm section perfectly complement Schweiger's earnest vocals, which hew closer to those of Mould's former Hüsker Dü bandmate, Grant Hart. Other tracks, like "Waiting On Allison" and "D'jango Fett," add a healthy dose of crunch to the proceedings, resulting in loose-limbed stomps decked out with gooey, mile-wide choruses.
It's a pity that the rest of Letdown can't quite keep pace with its first few tracks. Leaving the sharp-edged power-pop behind, the disc eventually settles into a series of agreeable—if by-the-numbers—blues-tinged exercises. "Drunk Drivin'" comes off as rote, while "Up On Talking" and "Loss Of Empathy" seem to channel the songwriting tics of late-period Green Day and Harvey Danger. Still, Letdown is another solid addition to Schweiger's crowded résumé, and one that seldom lives up to its title.
Tim Schweiger And The Middlemen celebrate the release of The Big Letdown Friday at Irish Pub.