Make Believe - Shock of Being
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Release Date: October 4, 2005
Joan of Arc is one of my favorite bands, but I totally understand when people argue that their songs go nowhere. Iím pretty sure thatís the impression that they want you to get Ė they strive to be mysterious to the point of borderline unlistenability. So, itís only logical that the band members would form another group Ė with pretty much the exact same people Ė and aim at rocking a little harder, a little more in the vein of Tim Kinsellaís first band Capín Jazz. That heavier side project (and heavier in this sense pretty much just means Ďeasier to digestí, not hard rock or metal) would be Make Believe, whose Shock of Being just will not get out of my cd player.
Since this is about the 400th band Tim Kinsella has founded (many of them running simultaneously), it would make sense to overlook Make Believe in the Chicago indie scene. But as anyone who has heard their music should tell you, that would be a crying shame. Sure, Joan of Arcís signature fragmented, over-the-top jazzy guitar lines are still just all over the place, but this time the guys fit them on top of drum beats and catchy bass lines so that the Ďpiecesí sound like songs Ė not art projects.
As the result of actually jamming these guitar parts into some context, songs like ďSay What You MeanĒ sound either like Maps N Atlases or like The Advantageís video game music, varying by listen. Kinsellaís Tourettes-like wailing over the track is enough to guarantee the radio will overlook Make Believe forever, but itís actually a really cool touch Ė Iíd prefer if heíd always growl like this instead of sticking to his general atonal croon. Donít get me wrong, I like the dudeís atonal crooning as much as the next guyÖ but itís cool to hear something new.
Kinsella goes back to his original batshit insane style of lyric writing (remember in Capín Jazz when he just randomly screamed the alphabet at you?) as opposed to his ridiculously literate Joan of Arc lyrics. Politics have their place in music, sure, but so does fun, and if Tim Kinsella canít balance the two things at once then weíll all just have to listen to both of his bands.
Overall I was really surprised by how cool this cd is. Again, Iíve been a fan of Kinsella for a while, but even to me Make Believe stands out as some of his best work. This is about as conventional as he gets Ė even if itís still in who-knows-what time signature and the lyrics are about teaching a cat to moonwalk. Itís cool to hear a guy who has such a serious reputation have a good time.
Recommended If You Like:
Joan of Arcís Dick Cheney, Capín Jazz, Owls. Yeah, thatís right Ė it sounds like other Tim Kinsella bands.