Make a Rising
A funny thing happens once you stop trying to make sense of Make a Rising and simply accept them as imaginative weirdos: Their songs seem less like showy acts of theatrics and more like pleasantly batty pop dressed in flamboyant robes. The West Philly troupe may employ homemade props and costumes, cycle through drastic mood swings in record time, and reach for the stars with their swooning, orchestral racket, but it's all done with immense affection and an eerie attention to detail.
Skeptical? Pick up their new album Infinite Ellipse and Head With Open Fontanel, and slap on a pair of headphones. See what I mean? Insane though it is, the album gels better and more quickly than their previous effort--2005's Pitchfork-lauded Rip Through the Hawk Black Night--and is as notable for its sense of control as for its careening energy. That said, if you thought Man Man were the most puckish live band in the town, you haven't seen Make a Rising.
Between albums, the band expanded to a six-piece lineup that includes piano, trumpet, clarinet, violin and accordion on top of guitar/bass/percussion, and an impressive cast of guests culled from bands like Buried Beds and Fern Knight. The songwriting is helmed by brothers Justin and Jesse Moynihan, who delve into the inherent creepiness and magic of the outdoors to spin their vivid visions.
"Peaceful Paths" is a grandiose number with slow saloon-style piano, swelling horns and harmonies, a foreboding guitar line, and the airy refrain, "Let love find you." On the other end of the spectrum, "Your Karmic Obstacle" opens with humble clattering and then suddenly becomes a straight-arrow indie rock song for a minute or so, proving Make a Rising could be half-normal if they tried. Thank goodness they don't, though.
Fri., March 28, 9pm. $5. With Off the International Radar + Pterodactyl. Pi Lam, 3914 Spruce St. www.myspace.com/thepilam
PW's Music Issue 2014