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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Make Believe
Make Believe
Flameshovel Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Depending on who you ask, Tim Kinsella is either incredibly pretentious or a multi-talented genius, and perhaps both. Make Believe is a new project on the Joan of Arc family tree, and is, in fact, their most recent touring incarnation. To use the band's words to get you up to speed, "Now relieved of by Make Believe of rocking out impulses, Joan of Arc is free to be as pretty and far out as it can. The two bands balance each other. Or Make Believe is Owls without drug problems, Friend/Enemy with a consistent lineup and practice schedule." If Joan of Arc is left to even more of its own devices, we should all be frightened and excited, but where does that truly leave Make Believe? What is its purpose in all this?

Well, friends, I'm here to tell you that Make Believe is proof that Kinsella is fully validated by having his own little world. In fact, he and his cohorts have created an entire alternate universe: a Bizarro World where classic rock and heavy metal were predated by and founded upon Slint. The tracks are full rock onslaught, but with a slanted perspective that is as ghastly and oddly intriguing as a freak show. It's strange, but miraculous, and you can't look away.

"We're All Going to Die" begins with guitars like bike horns, characteristically off-key and sore-throated. It starts as if breaking down, collapsing, and giving into madness; as such, it prefaces the glimmer of unbridled insanity that is most definitely in store. "Britt's Favorite" carries on the sentiment with great emotion, lighting the track ablaze. In contrast, it takes its passion to pleasingly warm locations, buzzing and attentively marching to a charming melody. The madness is still present, but replacing the normal routine.

The remaining three tracks lift and even out the EP, unmistakably the most enjoyable of the fare, and rank among the best of Kinsella's work. "Witchcraft" features a distinctive, brooding din, replete with tense and contorted post-rock noodling and breathless, dangerous vocal bleating.

"Temping as a Shaman" is the most adventurous and wholly pleasurable of the tracks, moving like a good story, with a drive from beginning to end. It waltzes in with added mysticism from an electric sounding piano, then gains in speed to add urgency and confusing layers to the mix. The strange sounds are oddly beautiful, and drop off to the dark warmth of a stagnant noise, broken toy pianos and peaceful white noise. Here is where the madness is fully given into and accepted: a calm washes over in forms of facial tics and incoherent ramblings.

The final offering, "Abacadabra - Thumbs!" is the track most like Joan of Arc's louder rocking moments, securing a place among "God Bless America" and "Post Coitus Rock". It is accessible, minimalist and spindly, with admirable chord structures and a moving, soulful agenda. It erupts with feeling and proclaims in great assurance that the passion is back - not that it had ever left.

If Joan of Arc is indeed a schizophrenic project from here on out, harnessing the intricate and dulcet sounds while The Make Believe unleashes the sharp-edged, blatant noise, then it should please fans as a fully invested entity. This new moniker allows Kinsella the space and freedom to take his tangents as far out as they will go. In his world and ours, the result is vastly rewarding.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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