The guitar tone on Beyond Living is beautiful, like what J Mascis might have done if he could hear right. Muscular but distinct, rich without being shrillyou could use it to weld a stained-glass window. It offers a joyful counterpoint to Milk Music's yelping vocals and midtempo arrangements, transforming tracks like "Fertile Ground" and "Out of My World" from what might have been plodding mud rock into buoyant, beer-can-raising jams. If you are not annoyed at having just read three consecutive sentences about guitar tone, you will like Milk Music.
Beyond Living rocks along with almost no missteps. The album rarely zigs when it should have zagged, but it often zigs and zigs again. Like a hypnotist or Galaxie 500, Milk Music knows that repetition relaxes the mind. It's easy to reach the end of Beyond Living and not be sure how much time has passed, both because it is unified and because it is uniform. It's a punishing vortex that takes rock beyond art and into experience, where it belongs. Or it's a heavily painted wall of soundit all depends on whether you like both The Melvins and The Breeders. Most good people do.
Milk Music plays the VFW Sat., July 7, at 10 PM.