This Microwave World

Record review

Texas Platters

This Microwave World

Red States (Tight Spot)

It's all about the bass isn't it? It is for This Microwave World, Austin's premier post-apocalyptic dance quintet. Maybe not all about the bass. Brandon Loe's low end might not be half as fierce without Sean O'Neal's powerful vocals. Red States is TMW's first full-length, although its fourth release, a collection of ideas, revelations, and riots belted out by O'Neal and driven by Kevin Bybee's always-immediate drumming. Opening with the vintage "December Was a Sham," O'Neal instills anxiety and impulse that continues throughout, with pixie keyboardist Erin Mikulenka's backing vocals mocking response. Shouting back to the Eighties with zeal, the Rapturesque "You Are a Riot," Britt Daniel-backed "The Party Line," and organ-driven "She's Insecure" all stand on their own as summer dance party hits. But next to the darkness of "The Year of Living Enviously," "A Model Life," and closer "The Hours," the ass-shakers seem almost trite: crowd-pleasers vs. boundary-pushers. This Microwave World is combustible, both on album and on stage, and while they have a lot of fun with the upbeat numbers, the drug-addled edge of romance shines a lot brighter. That combustion is what makes a great band … and oftentimes breaks it, too.


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