February 28, 2006

Review: Make A Rising | Rip Through The Black Hawk Night

The foldout inlay of Make A Rising’s June 2005 release Rip Through The Black Hawk Night features a staged photograph of five masked people artfully arranged in a surreal living room scene. This portrait is an apt visual representation of the Philadelphia act’s self-described “avant chamber rock.” Songs are composed in incongruous movements with abrupt shifts between complex, classically scented string arrangements, cacophonic layers of discord, indie rock drone, folk melodies, and occasional overtly fragile indie-pop bedroom crooning.

Though the Make A Rising press materials claim otherwise, some listeners may find it difficult to sense themes building across the disparate compositions. To be fair, the latter songs on the record feature parts that dwell on themes and build into each other moreso than the openers. There is also a consistent live room sound apparent when the chamber and rock instruments are prominent, which serves to pleasingly relate movements across the diverse pieces. Electronic sounds sharply contrast the live instrumentation with vacuum-packed immediacy. The fragile, alto male vocals strike a childlike pose of vulnerability in sound and lyric on many tracks, but never go as far as to culminate or focus a track emotionally. Despite the sonic and lyric references to confessional indie rock and swooning classical music, the record remains artfully contrived and its players masked with so much prog in their program. If you enjoy the idea of your Dvorak, Stereolab, Yes, Flaming Lips, Rachels and Mr. Bungle records arbitrarily edited together into individual tracks, then Rip Through The Black Hawk Night is the album for you. -- Mr. Obb, clicky clicky Correspondent

[Buy Rip Through The Black Hawk Night from Insound]
[Make A Rising at MySpace]

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