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Make Up - After Dark (Cover Artwork)

Make Up

Make Up: After DarkAfter Dark (1996)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: GreenVandalGreenVandal
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Few bands have ever accomplished the level of confusion that the Nation of Ulysses were able to perpetuate in their four short years of existence. The band's swagger, destructive live shows, and jazz-infused brand of hardcore mixed with their over-the-top political rants and uncompromisingly militan.
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Few bands have ever accomplished the level of confusion that the Nation of Ulysses were able to perpetuate in their four short years of existence. The band's swagger, destructive live shows, and jazz-infused brand of hardcore mixed with their over-the-top political rants and uncompromisingly militant presentation to create a mystique that has nearly become legendary. After the Nation's implosion, three-fifths of the band teamed up with ex-Frumpies guitarist Michelle Mae to form the Make-Up. Rather than just continue on with the self-created "Ulysses Aesthetic," the four decided to go in a somewhat different direction. A direction called Gospel Yeh-Yeh.

On their live album After Dark, the Make-Up play rock and roll that is overflowing with jazz and punk tendencies. A strong rhythm section composed of Steve Gamboa on drums and Michelle Mae on bass consistently lay down a groove that makes a perfect foundation for James Canty's sparse guitar and organ work. While all the musicians in the band are impressive, Ian Svenonius is the star of this show. On tracks like "We Can't Be Contained," the music serves as nothing but a backdrop for his voice. The former NOU singer rants, raves, screams, and baby-talks the audience in attendance through a journey filled with faceless political enemies, lack of hope, and even the birth of a child (well, metaphorically, anyway). The band wants you to dance as much as they want you to listen to their front-man's hysterical preaching. They dubbed themselves Gospel Yeh-Yeh with good reason.

Your enjoyment of this album primarily hinges on what you think of Reverend Svenonius' performance. I could see his yelping beginning to wear on some people and he uses the words "yeah" and "baby" in every sentence, but I can't help but love the man's energy and passion for what he is saying. The Make-Up are a band whose music caters to audience participation. Their performances were as much about theater as music and the lack of that visual connection certainly doesn't serve the album well, but the music that is here is good enough to stand on its own. My personal favorite tracks are "Blue is Beautiful," "(Here Comes) The Judge," and the band's theme song, "Comedown" (in all three of its brief iterations on this disc).

After Dark is an entertaining listen. The production is great, so you can pick out every driving note of Michelle's precision bass work, and the energy of a live setting does wonders for Ian. Some points can drag a bit and Ian's tirades may wear thin on some, but in the end After Dark is still definitely worth your time, if only to hear an influential band's live show when they were still in their prime. Fans of Refused and T(I)NC should especially take note since Dennis Lyxzén just about owes his entire career to the NOU and its subsequent offspring.

So now all that's left is...can I hear you say "yeah!?"

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 3, 2006)

great CD. But "In Mass Mind" is way better. Just listen to "Time Machine".

Anonymous (October 12, 2005)

this is true, will would have to be at least 40 years old in order to have any real cred. He's just the guy who writes off the "popular" bands and states lesser known bands as amazing in order to seem more "indie".

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

whenever will spouts off shit about how these bands were and percieved and what sort of scene it was, i just cant help but laugh. all this shit was going on before he was born/in diapers and he says stuff like in here and stuff like big black is an image band and minor threat were posers and shit...i cant help but laugh.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

Eh, the Ian worship is a bit overboard. NoU were great, but nothing that special. They just came along when there was a huge lull in that sort of music... And I guess their attitude was pretty original, but I for one think that the whole "let's make fun of politics" thing did not work for any band after them (except for Born Against, and at least with them, you knew where they were coming from). It makes their beliefs too ambiguous and they just come off as nihilistic losers with nothing to say... Though I'm pretty sure that's not what they really are.

-Will

yellowtrash (October 10, 2005)

Indeed, but MC5 also borrowed elements from blues and gospel traditions. It's not surprising that rock n' roll is still playing music black culture created decades ago.

As for the Ian Svenonious vs. Dennix Lyxzn the great differences between the two is that the former takes it all with the slightest hint of irony and appropriates the rock n' roll mysticism as his own. Lyxzn prefers to sell his image in order to subvert the masses.

Anonymous (October 10, 2005)

they all just copied the mc5 anyways.

GreenVandal (October 10, 2005)

Refused were my idols until I found out about NOU and Born Against. (click my profile and read my review of the new noise EP...I pretty much typed that review with my boner)

NOUs political schtick was a joke. It was mocking scene politics. There was some seriousness to what he said of course, but it was buried under millions of layers of one of the funniest jokes that nobody got. God bless their little hearts.

kenjamin (October 9, 2005)

How serious were NOU in the politcal stance? Some of the stuff in "13 Point..." is really dense stuff but I can't see anyone taking it THAT seriously. Also, I was really bummed out when I found out that Refused (which i thought was soooo revolutionary when I was 17) pretty much stole NOU and Born Against's respective schticks.

elliot (October 9, 2005)

hey, i've always loved refused and t(i)nc. and i wasn't saying that they completely ripped off their music from those bands. but come on, the long "manifestos" and shit? that's total nation of ulysses/make up.

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

"shut up with the "ripping off". your lame. most bands take something from another band, if they mean to or not."

Theres a difference between sounding like someone and ripping them off. Dennis raped everything Ian has ever done, from his fashion to his politics. There is a imprint of the NOU and MU on everything Dennis has ever done.

I saw the NOU as a small part hardcore punk, a large part jazz. Refused was a large part hardcore and a small part jazz.

I still love Refused and dig T(I)NC though. You cant go wrong with these guys as your source material.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

shut up with the "ripping off". your lame. most bands take something from another band, if they mean to or not.

-sirens

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

while t(i)nc does owe a lot to the make up, and refused clearly borrowed NOU's asthetic, their music sounds NOTHING like them. it really annoys me when people (ie the second commentor) claim that refused ripped of NOU. there music bares very little resemblence to each other.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

I have something else by them. It is a digipack and has blue lettering. It sounds like dance-rock mixed with a bit of Stooges. It's okay, has some good songs and some that aren't that great.

This band is okay, nothing great.

-Will

elliot (October 9, 2005)

anyone ever notice that refused was kinda ripping off nation of ulysses?

and then when refused broke up, dennis started international noise consipracy, which kinda rips off the make up?

i guess it's better than ripping off shit bands.

GreenVandal (October 9, 2005)

Hey. I wrote this. I'm a tool.

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