Genre: math rock, indie rock, experimental
So I'm not the kinda guy to listen to 12 minute songs. If you ask me if I like Explosions in the Sky or Godspeed!, I'll say yes. But when did I listen to them last? Years ago. So even though I loved the two Pretend songs on the MySpace page, I was wary when I saw the 7, 10, and 13 minute tracks. Halfway through "Flair," I was about to give this album a 7.5. Been there, done that; they're using the same tricks on every song; this isn't as pretty as I wanted. If you feel this way, pleeeease just keep listening. Then buy 200 copies of this CD and hand them out on the street. Pretend is a specific style, vibe, and presence, and every note is on purpose. This is the kind of thoughtful music that needs to be coming out in 2009.
Think about if Joan of Arc was a jam band, like the best jam band ever, and then they had Dilute's singer. And really rockin drums. It kind of reminds me of a mathier Sagarmatha, actually (The Appleseed Cast). I'll admit, some of the jammy parts use the same fast strumming and five-note-picking a little too much, but when the next section of the song comes in, you are instantly hooked again. The whole album is a journey (to use a stale metaphor) and as soon as you get tired of one road, you get thrown on a hairpin turn. The only places I got a little bored were on the beginning of "Flair" and halfway through the title track, but it's all just part of the process. Have I mentioned the amazing stops and turnarounds these guys throw in every song? The album art is great, the lyrics are great, everything makes this one of the best releases of 2009. My only complaint is that the engineering could have used some tweaking at points, but this really is pretty minor when it is even noticeable. Makes me want to go listen to some Little League... then relisten Pretend.
Fav tracks: "Alive in the Tone," "Those Luminous Noises...," and "Spiral Born Black..."
9.3/10 (Notice how I only rate albums I really like? Wonder why that is.)
BUY THIS ALBUM IF YOU LIKE IT (myspace.com/pretendrock)