What if a rock album were nothing but anthems? Nothing but guitar driven optimism, laying waste to a squalor of bass and drums. What if every song had zipping, scuzzy two verse lead ins before vocals ever made an appearance? Milk Music seem intent on answering these questions with Cruise Your Illusion, an album made and structured in such earnest appeal to freewheeling stoner sensibilities that it’s almost irritating.
This album is a mess; there are a large number of songs that start with inexplicable fade-ins, as though the members of Milk Music mad some great ideas for verses and choruses but didn’t know how to start the songs. These songs are little more than ideas – nothing on Cruise Your Illusion feels particularly structured or designed. But this kind of ambivalence towards academic album building actually works in Cruise Your Illusion’s favor, as the jagged, maladroit pieces would feel uncomfortable and awkward if crammed into legitimate song structures.
There is a Neil Young pastoralism to Cruise Your Illusion; it’s an album whose serene chaos matches the weirdly magical scope of its Goodnight Mood meets Gary Busey fever dream cover well. Songs like “Cruising With God” are punchy and fun, and served absurdly well by a production style that mixes mysticism with colloquialisms. Cruise Your Illusion is fractured and jumpy, to be sure, but it is almost perfectly so – it represents a vision so uncompromised that it barely took revision and self-control into account.
“Illegal and Free” is easily the best song on Cruise Your Illusion; a catchy invective against the meager ways in which most people conduct themselves and live their lives. The song is a mess, with an unintuitive guitar line building wildly, viciously – at times ambiguous if it is even building towards anything – into a vocal part that can only be described as hilarious and heartwarming. Cruise Your Illusion is not particularly self-serious (if the title is any indication), and Milk Music are not a band that seem likely to stretch very far outside of their boozy comfort zone; this album should be a joy for anyone looking for a breezy, guitar-driven listen with enough lurking under the surface that it can survive some legitimate analysis.