Make Believe - Going to the Bone Church Release Date: April 1st, 2008
Record Label: Flameshovel Records
By all means, the men of Make Believe are not entirely interested in what I have to say in this review, or anyone’s review. They’ve each been in the musician lifestyle enough years, though largely and pitifully overlooked for the most part, that really any criticism in any form is likely to be a reiteration of sorts as they’ve in all probability heard it all before. I’d like to say I’m writing this critique to help their bank accounts, but I can’t say that. My absolute esteem for Going to the Bone Church and promoting fantastic music any way possible outweighs my compassion for starving artists. It’s a shame I can’t be standing on this pedestal recapping what you already know about some Radiohead album or Beck single, but I’m here and willing to guess the majority of you haven’t given this Chicago quartet’s newest a listen. I’ve been in this chair before, having an opportunity to give this very same band a pinch more of unnecessary press. How many more ways can one journalist describe guitarist Sam Zurick’s erratic style? If you were to follow one of the man’s lines, you’d be able to capture the entire context of what makes his contribution to the band special. Yet if you were to allow BoneChurch twenty plays through to sink in, I’d be willing to suppose it’d still not be enough.
Not only because there is so much to be gained by immersing yourself in Tim Kinsella’s disjointed, theoretic lyrics, but just because the album as a whole is so damn good. Some would humble this reviewer by calling him a fan of most things these four are a part of, but in an attempt to pre-empt such accusations of bias and slant I outdid myself by taking my brother (read: favorite bands include Run DMC, Cab Calloway, and John Fogerty) for a drive to school with Bone Church rumbling around the Jetta’s praiseworthy sound system. His request to replay “Just Green Enough” and the way his jaw tellingly hung in the middle of the spoken-word outro of the title track is all I needed to know that I am not alone in being absolutely enamored with this album.
The only decent thing that Alternative Press has ever done journalistically is describe Nate Kinsella’s drumming technique as “fractured”. That’s really the best, most reliant word to illustrate the man’s percussion-lashings. And yet he still has time amongst his odd rhythm to over see the band’s necessary addition of the Wurlitzer. The rhythm section is grounded, however, as Bobby Burg sounds as if he’s the most trustworthy bassist working the small stages today – always a ‘bump’ with every one of Nate K’s ‘thwacks’, and yet preserves a more strategic way of giving the song that extra oomph. Even when talking of songs in which Zurick primarily runs the show (“Ooo-Yum”), there’s still that lower end that pulls everything together in a way that keeps the experience enthralling. I mean, I’m dedicating an entire paragraph to two members – get on listening to this duo in action.
What I should be dedicating an entire paragraph to, rather, is my joy to find Tim is using the manners and mystery of the occult, etc. in such a less abrasive way. Lately, his various projects have become more a vehicle for his speculative nature in anything dealing with the nameless, manipulative powers to be. However here, and most notably in Joan of Arc’s new album, it’s a lot more toned down. There’s only so much to be said about a certain facet of the very things most people are tuneless to, and either Tim realized that or there was more interesting things to be shared this time around. Even if that notch was still present, it wouldn’t retract a bit from the sheer pleasure of songs like “Garden Stencil” and “Wearin’ Torn”. Sam Zurick’s guitar and Tim’s voice have shared many songs and stages together, but I think they finally are finding their place together, as those few moments in the chorus of “Wearin’ Torn” there is a piece of bliss where both perfectly coalesce.
The reader, if uninitiated to this album and band entirely, are by now anticipating my deeming of Bone Church as the “album of the year” or “breakthrough record you can’t afford to miss” – but fuck it. Rankings should be irrelevant. It doesn’t matter anymore. It shouldn’t. I am realizing this, while giving the album one more listen for the night, and am still trying to give myself a reason this should be ranked higher than some other album, or the other way around. Off topic or not – again, fuck it. Allow Make Believe to coexist with that anti-folk, twee-as-candy band you’ve been hanging on. I can’t imagine Make Believe’s statement being greater or less important than any other given album’s. They’re just going to be there. They’re going to be there, giving rock a bit more skew, a bit more blur.
Allow this album to do so, keep an open mind, quit your job and go somewhere you’ve never been before.