This Microwave World
Reviewed by Michael Chamy, Fri., Feb. 7, 2003
This Microwave WorldThe Same Things Kill Your Kids EP (How+Why?) Ever noticed a bunch of locals running around town with jet-black hair and stylish 'dos, sometimes sporting faux British accents? Who knows why, but Austin's mod squad rules the roost here in many circles. It must be a sign o' the times that the New Wave sounds of the Tubeway Army, Soft Cell, and Human League can have such an impact in the heart of Texas. Exhibit A: This Microwave World. Fronted by Sean O'Neal, veteran of Austin electro-mods A Roman Scandal, this coterie of self-styled post-punks features ex-members of local electro-heads Kitty and OMD 20/20. Though they'd rather be identified with Joy Division and the Fall, the synth-heavy This Microwave World, like Nebraska sensations the Faint, falls a lot closer to Eighties New Wave. "00:31 to Destruction" kicks off this debut EP in high-energy fashion, and between the chirpy bleeps, high-octane programmed beats, and O'Neal's heavy British affectation, one might think the Prima Donnas have finally made that long-awaited comeback. Difference is, This Microwave World hovers plainly, if slightly, over the line of self-parody. That doesn't keep them from being a hoot, though. Live bass melds with the synths to bring an early New Order edge to the sound, but problems lie in the lyrics (the trite pills and injections of "In Hospital") and vocals (keyboardist Erin Mikulenka's tentative turn on "Coming Clean"). This aside, the energy runs rampant on this premiere. Mad style points for Austin's mod squad.