Okay, so i saved the best for last! Of the three Post-Rock
albums, this is by far the best.
Do Make Say Think are not just an instrumental rock
band, they are masterful musicians who take jazz, rock, and
hippy jam-rock, and stir them together to make an interesting
mix of bouncey and listenable music. It's a delicious swirl
of horns, guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards.
I lump them into the Post-Rock category because:
- They make instrumental music.
- They are not a typical band who would receive radioplay
in much of Tha States.
- They record on Constellation Records, the same label that
releases uber-Post-Rock band Godspeed You Black Emperor!
- Just look at that album title! I mean, c'mon ....
So there you go. Maybe DMST is really a jazz band. I dunno.
I mean, they DO use horns and rhythms in a way that might
get classified as jazz in certain circles. Actually, fellow
minion Tracers and i have
discussed this genre-ization at length ... After a while, labelling
becomes so difficult that it ultimately fails. Let's just assume
that my classification is correct and move on.
I have used the word "jazz" three times in this review so far,
and i know that it frightens some people, so i just want everyone
to be forewarned that i am going to use the term again.
Jazz. Jazz. Jazz. Jazz. Jazz.
There. Anybody who is truly frightened should have fled by
now and the rest of us can proceed.
First i think i should explain why i think many people are
afraid of jazz. Quite simply, jazz as it currently exists and
as i and so many other human beings know it, is probably the
most self-indulgent musical genre in existence (yes, even more
so than post-hippie Jam Rock!) It's all about people who are
really competent at their instruments making music to show you
how amazingly competent they are. Woo hoo, good for them. Now,
that is just one of many popular and frightening opinions of
jazz. Another is the whole "Kenny G" thing, but even i am too
scared to go there, so let's avoid it!
So, when i say that Do Make Say Think make music that reminds
me of jazz, do i mean that they are conceited super-musicians
here to tell me what great musicians they are?
I am attempting to use the term "jazz" in more of
a Kerouacian sense. You see, Jack Kerouac spent a lot of time
describing jazz in his various books. He made it sound great
-- passionate musicans using their instruments to express depths
of emotion that transcend mere language! All rhythm that moves
you, man, moves YOU like nothing else! All energy that grabs
you by the soul and swings you in the air! Yeah baby! That's
what St. Jack was talking about. Not Meditations
by Coltrane or any of the rest of that unlistenable self-indulgent
crap. We're talking about music that excites the soul, but does
so with complex rhythm structures.
That's what jazz should be, and that's what it is here.
The six members of Do Make Say Think are incredibly proficient
at their music. But they are not so concerned that you know
that fact. Instead, they want to get together and express themselves
through sound, and if you happen to enjoy that, then all the
merrier. And that's one of the things i like about this CD.
I get the impression that DMST would be sitting around, hanging
out, and making this music anyway, even if they didn't
record and release it, because that's what they do. It's what
they like, and how they make themselves happy. That level of
sheer contentment with what they are doing at the moment shows
And i DO like what they are doing. I can sit and happily listen
and bop along to this CD for hours. I think that ole Jack would
have liked it too!
Let's move on to album specifics. I really like the guitar
playing style that dominates that album: strummed notes lingering
at the point where fuzz is just beginning to be heard. Almost
distorted, but not quite. Simply beautiful.
Noteworthy tracks include The Apartment Song, which
features mournful country-esque guitars. And here i mean country
in the same way that The Dirty Three
are country! It's not about twang and "southerness", but a certain
sort of melancholia that stems from deeply rural areas.... I
also really like the track Goodbye Enemy Airship with
it's sublime keyboard drones over arpeggioed guitars and that
amazing two drummers drumming!
So there ya go. This isn't one of those Post-Rock albums that
you sit around in a dark candle-lit room and listen to. It's
more of an album for driving through the city late at night,
with the lights from the buildings speeding by your windows.
It's for waking up at 4 AM, unable to sleep, and taking a long
walk through sleepy suburbs before you have to go to work at
Now, i really sound like i am gushing over this album here.
And i do love it. The more i listen to it, the more i love it.
And yet i give it only six sponges. You might very well be wondering,
"What's up with that?" Well, as good as this album is, there
are better albums. Like the self-titled debut from Do Make Say
Think. Now that's perfection. This album is just barely short
of perfection. But it's still damn good.