In trendy rock circles, the concept of grounding a band in a single genre has become obsolete. Everybody juxtaposes radio-friendly crooning and metal riffing. Everybody screams as if they're ending a bout of constipation and drops in double-bass rolls -- even in pop tunes. On a theoretical level, the anti-form movement represents artistic freedom. On a practical level, it's like mixing hamburger, peanut butter, and Tabasco sauce.
Unlike the glut of punk-influenced screamo-pop bands, Cleveland up-and-comers Who Killed Marilyn? do the post-genre thing right: They don't forget that they're playing rock and roll. Grounded in metal, the band's long, self-titled debut EP plays like a promising demo, stuffed with anthemic leads, middleweight breakdowns, sandpaper melodies, and abstract-expressionist experimentation (see "It's a War" for all of the above). The quintet pulls it together best in a cover of Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" -- a highlight of their live sets. For now, Marilyn's reach exceeds its grasp, but it's growing.