9 Jul 2020

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Makeshift Parachutes - Album Review: The Daily Absurd

14 Nov 2019 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
What started as a jam session in a wine cellar in Houston Texas around 2012 would eventually emerge in Auckland, New Zealand under the name Makeshift Parachutes. Seven years later Makeshift Parachutes are releasing their debut full length album: The Daily Absurd.

What they've delivered is a dreamy soundscape of psychedelic and 70's prog rock affectations atop a rhythm section of sturdy, danceable grooves. The band has managed to offer an experience tailored for both a heady and reflective listening experience as well as a galvanizing centerpiece for their popular live shows.

The opening track Black Velvet Nothingness circles the drain of life's never-ending grind. Singer Chris McCollum's vocals act as the velvet in the equation delivering an account of a life spent treading economic water, punctuated by the audio capture of construction work. The playful lead synth and marching drum beats obscure the pessimistic tone. The contrast seems to imply that the album is an invitation to dance away those frustrations in the band's musical space chamber.

Sporting the pumping 4/4, muted pedal notes and spacious chord strums of a Pink Floyd hit is the second song: Union Co. Though the title suggests it may have a conceptual link to Black Velvet Nothingness, The lyrics feel like a stream of consciousness. Lines like "instigate, retreat and observe" and "All I gotta do is just perpetuate the daily absurd" imply a commentary on the news media, but the prospect that this is going to play out as a concept album is exciting and a reasonable presumption considering the genres and era this music references. It's got a hugely gratifying vocal rhythm that must be endlessly fun to sing. "I'll catch you later I'll be back with the defibrillator."

As the album continues, Be Kind Rewind, rewards some tension building opening bars with a sleek and buttery bass line by Daniel O'Connor and a real sense of narrative movement from the dynamic tempo changes across the one song. The track feels transitional, like the heralding of a second act. That second act features Ferrari Gosling, which sounds like it could have been a Van Halen anthem and gets the award for "hookiest" chorus in the album. It sounds like an ode to reveling in one's own company after having a long night out celebrating but it also sounds like the celebration itself.

Bad Guys Having a Nice Day has some really weird, interesting and novel sounds featured in it. Their presence draws attention to how familiar some of the music is beginning to sound in this later stage of the album. The singing approach and bass lines in particular harken back to a lot of ground already covered in a few songs. The drums, however, are given a little more space to explore the air between beats and create a more textured approach to the rhythms.

Making the gear shift into the last third, the tempo gets turned up and the vibe excited in The Aviator. There's a physicality to the execution that feels immediate, as if directly connected to the energy of a live show. Flicker Fusion Frequency veers again into a Rush inspired pinball game soundtrack with an extra kick of palpable drama. This track takes my award for song I'd most like to see live. It works itself into a frenzy, the vocals rebound off the walls in psychedelic shrieks and it ends in an amazing disintegrated and distorted dirge.

With the last track, Rainbow Maker, absolutely nailing the exit statement, this album is a black light water slide to journey through. Rainbow Maker comes out feeling like the biggest sound on the whole thing and then quickly moves to incorporate previously unvisited sounds and approaches while also crystallizing the band's style. This song gave me exactly the kind of feeling I want from both a deep-cut and an album closer.

With The Daily Absurd, Makeshift Parachutes have created an album that feels like it chronicles a band starting at one point artistically and managing to navigate to a new territory. There's an arc here that you cross when you listen. It's not eight songs taken from a certain era in a band's career. It feels like the telling of the story of that era.
Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Makeshift Parachutes

The first jam session took place in a wine cellar in Austin Texas sometime in 2012, but Makeshift Parachutes wasn't officially a band until early 2013. ?
Due to beautiful unforeseen circumstances Makeshift Parachutes is now based out of Auckland.

Makeshift Parachutes' music is a psychedelicate thunderstorm encompassing powerful rhythms and soft melodies intertwining strong bass riffs with lush guitar, slide, a touch of synth, and spacey vocals.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Makeshift Parachutes


The Daily Absurd
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Mr Happy
Year: 2016
Type: EP
Fiction Has Evolved
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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