Make Believe - Shock of Being (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Make Believe

Shock of Being (2005)


A quirky sound and even quirkier lyrics (see: "Zombies, hillbillies, and vampires, UFOs and Clinton at McDonalds") are staples for pretty much anything Tim Kinsella-related and Make Believe is no exception, especially on their debut full-length Shock of Being. The band, comprised of members of Joan of Arc, definitely manage to sound like their predecessor, only with a more complete, consistently upbeat and slightly more accessible sound. One thing‘s for sure, though: The band borrows at least a little from nearly all of the Kinsella family projects: Owen; the Owls; and even a little American Football for good measure.

The intricate, 42-minute whirl-wind that is Shock of Being opens with "Amscaredica (The Beautiful)," a track with an indisputable soulful edge complimented by Tim's raspy vocals. The bi-polar, all-over-the-place rhythms and groove-laden melodies continue onto "His Short Quip When Eddie's Bothered," a track with constant articulation and an infectious, prominent beat. "Say What You Mean" puts a quick end to the accessibility of the album with the persistent yelps of "how-eee - yah-oo-oowww - -oo" (had to check the booklet for that one) and sporadic manic growls (don‘t think the guttural growls of your favorite death metal band, think the growl of an actual animal).

"I'm making the bed with you in it. I'm making the bed with you in it" winds up making the track "One Zero" one that won't leave your brain without a struggle. Shock of Being throws an instrumental track into the mix with "Can't Tell Cop from Cab" and offers an experimental, dance-able quality that should be able to satisfy Q and Not U fans.

Instead of solely relying on the complex melodies, Make Believe's sound seems to only be a garnish for the often-bizarre lyrical poetry present. "She's with Marx against all the stupid Marxists;" "Make like a tree and bark / Bark like a dog and leave;" "Someone's taught the cat to moonwalk and it's become a real show-off;" and "Browsing naked girls like used sports gear / Do you feel alone alone [sic]?" are just a few examples of what Tim has to say on the record. Your attempt at interpretation is as good as mine.

To put it simply (and metaphorically), if you worship at the altar of the Kinsella family, Shock of Being will hold a great deal of "hymns" for you to rejoice to. However, if you're unable to swallow the unique, busy sound any other Tim Kinsella project has had, Make Believe probably won't be your Sunday best.