Mystic 100’s combines contemporary political engagement with an old-school ass-kicking.
The politics of the escape are tricky; the classic stylings of reminiscing rock music often threatens to slither into whitewashing and fetishism. But despite their rugged riffage and vintage muscle, Olympia’s Milk Music raucously refuse to fall into the trap of dangerously depoliticized nostalgia on Mystic 100’s highlight, “Dare to Exist.” Even from the noisy onset, lead vocalist Alex Coxen lays into his listener, reprimanding the inertia and boredom of the “daydream” of inaction and self-involvement. Sneering and unimpressed, amid the jolting dissonance of Charles Waring’s guitar, Coxen’s salvo is an unescapable wake-up call that belligerently dissolves the haze of the daydream. As the overblown guitar and fuzzed-out drums drive the song forward, so too does Coxen’s tone change. The spiky rawness of the song’s introduction slides into an anthemic zenith furnished by Coxen’s incantory directive to “Dare to exist”—the fact that “the world is insane and it’s hard to exist” notwithstanding. This radical optimism, maintained “with or without the concept of God,” situates Milk Music in direct opposition to the inertia of the daydream, constellating contemporary political engagement with an old-school ass-kicking.
Milk Music’s Mystic 100’s is out now on American Dom.