Over the past forty-five years, rock n’ roll as we’ve known it has evolved arguably more than it did in twice the time ahead of the new millennium, and at its purest, most emotional form, it’s produced music in the style of The Make’s The Make Up Sessions, a premium indie LP you should get your hands on this autumn. As opposed to following trends towards the surreal beat and abandoning much of the straightforwardness that pop/rock was known for some years ago, The Make is dug in and committed to a fast and furious look in this record that produces some shockingly well-paced and even romantic lyrical emissions. From “Wasted Time” to “Move On,” hearts and harmonies are quite bountiful in The Make Up Sessions.
Instead of using the mix to separate the finer points in the instrumentation here, The Make deliberately use it as a means of facilitating as much muscularity in the melodies as possible, especially in the rockers “Avenue Girl” and “Someone to Talk To.” “Try a Little Harder” is the only track here that seems a little understated, but its narrative requires as much to sound heartfelt and honest rather than too streamlined to be natural. These are players who have taken everything they’ve learned over the years and used it to get better rather than just more consistent at what they were already good at, and if there’s one thing their peers should be copying about their style, that’s it.
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There’s a lot on the line in “Jones Street,” but the old-school feel in this piece relates more to the self-consciousness of the lyricism than it does any desire to make a throwback experience in this release. One of the most redundant things a band can produce when trying to make something passionate is an homage to anything or anyone, but this is an instance in which the irony of the aesthetic does a lot to convey that especially soulful narrative The Make is flirting with in this performance. You’ve got to hand it to them for originality, and more importantly, for developing an artistic versatility that can allow them to venture outside predictable realms far more than their contemporaries ever would.
The Make Up Sessions is admittedly not what I was expecting to hear in the new LP from an underground band trying to make their mark on rock culture, but rather something that took me by surprise and made me a little more curious about what this group of players is trying to cultivate in their career together. They’re certainly going one way while everyone else is going the other, i.e. stripping down their music to the nuts and bolts of old school pop/rock, but they’re not sounding like the odd men out for one distinct reason – attitude. They’re invested in what they’re doing, and if you were shaky on their credibility ahead of this album, its selection of songs is going to have you feeling really good about who The Make is right now.