Artist: Ramona Falls
Record Label: Barsuk Records
Perfection is something of an anomaly, as how can anything be truly perfect? Human nature teaches us that there is no such thing as normal; therefore perfection is something of impossibility. However suggesting the latest record by Ramona Falls sounds too perfect is a judgement we just can’t shake.The project headed up by ex Menomena man Brent Knopf, conveys a lush sound bolstered by layers of strings, jaunty piano and Knopf’s distinctive, yet pretentious vocal. With all these factors meshing together the overall delivery is something that feels overcooked and slightly suffocated by its own self importance.
This sophomore output by Knopf and his gang of collaborators is ultimately a pop record but one with darker, sinister tendencies. ‘The Space Between Lightning and Thunder’ illustrates this point as the music is almost jovial while lyrics convey someone who embraces the more malevolent side of life “I feel alive when weather’s violent”. The juxtaposition of light and shade doesn’t stop there, as reflected in “If i Equals u” which sees Knopf echo with the choice line “I haven’t lived a day in my life”.
The album begins with something of a carefree nature but with a bitter lyrical undertone. Although once Prophet reaches its mid section the upbeat arrangements are replaced by squalling guitars and waves of noise which you can’t help but feel they are being dispensed out of frustration more than anything else as a rebellion against the overwrought music that has come before it. ‘Brevony’ captures Ramona Falls at their most snarling and unhinged. Even from the start of the song you can hear a screeching riff waiting to emerge, which it does around the two minute mark with mighty aplomb.
Prophet feels like a schizophrenic album as on one hand it appears happy and carefree, then from another angle it feels wounded and full of despair. Not forgetting the occasional flirtation with squalling noise and cheerful arrangements, it is an album that is difficult to breakdown. You can’t fault the musicianship on the LP; however the delivery seems to have been over thought so much that the organic nature of music seems to have been forgotten. There is nothing wrong with bitter and sweet mixing to produce something palatable however it seems the ratio isn’t quite right this time for Ramona Falls.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams