Modern American Theatre
We Could Make A House


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
December 6th, 2010 | 74 replies | 13,741 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: and just when you thought 2010 was fizzling out

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

This all sounds eerily familiar. Cumbersome, silly song titles? Busy, math-infused guitar lines coupled with pop sensibilities? A carefree sense of youthfulness and spunk? Yes, it’s been confirmed-- Minus the Bear circa 2002 have time-traveled to present-day. Unfortunately, the time-travel process seems to not be without kinks just yet, as singer Jake Snider has regrettably been lost in the ozone. As Snider a la 2002 floats out there in nothingness though, the band has found a more-than-apt replacement in, oddly enough, a female with silky smooth vocals, Natalie Diaz. The metaphor to novice Minus the Bear material is more than suitable, as Modern American Theatre channels the poppy mathematics a la This Town Needs Guns, Maps & Atlases and the like on their debut, but make no mistake: Modern American Theatre are very much their own band on We Could Make A House. The LA newcomers display an uncanny amount of elegance on their DIY debut. Exhibiting maturity in all the right places, they still keep We Could Make A House light with a youthful audacity, the kind that’s impossible to fake. Add it up, and Modern American Theatre create one of the most impressive debuts of 2010.

It’s difficult to find fault in the fluid album. Off-kilter melodies are interwoven liberally throughout We Could Make A House, with unexpected bridges, crescendos, and sporadic vocals to complement. “She's Like That With Everyone” displays Theatre’s knack for infusing a catchy hook, like a backbone, into the mathy goodness; and with clattering percussion in tow, ends up as one of the LP’s most successful. We Could Make A House borrows just enough sensibilities from their peers and predecessors, but never over-stepping boundaries into plagiarized or I’ve-heard-this-too-many-times territory. Expectedly but effectively, Theatre bump up the eclecticism of the album with a brief instrumental interlude, “Shotgun Preferably,” which amazingly ends up as one of the band’s most impressive with its progression of twinkly guitars and a milder atmosphere.

Despite this exception, Diaz’s vocals are often the affective anchor of We Could Make A House. Her vocal skills are mellifluous and fitting; but they are made all the more effective by quite possibly the most unrecognized artistry in criticism of singers-- knowing when to shut up. It’s truly endearing. Diaz sounds delighted to step up and offer her uptempo, bouncy chords to the band’s effort; but even more impressive is her ability to take a back seat and give the instrumentals room to venture towards a tangent, or let Justin Bardales’s tappa tappa-ing take center-stage. This adds to the cohesive factor of the band’s debut. Nevertheless, her vocals are powerful, and she gives them a sort of indiscernible sense of meaning, typified by the fact that it’s nearly impossible not to sing along as she belts out, “Please don’t involve me / I don’t want your energy,” on “Put Some Fruit Juice In There.”

Any fan of melodically-rich indie-pop, a frontwoman proving she can assert herself just as prominently as any guy, or catchy math-rock, will latch onto We Could Make A House in a big bear hug. The frictionless album is lovably familiar, yet surprisingly exceptional-- like reuniting with an old friend. In retrospect, who even needs the time-traveling quartet of 2002 Minus the Bear Minus Jake Snider when we now have Modern American Theatre catering to our sensibilities. Plus, if we’re going by Doc Brown’s “Back to the Future” theories, a time-traveling MTB would mean no Planet of Ice, and that’s simply not an option.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
December 7th 2010



19755 Comments


now all you guys enjoy this while I go get some much-needed sleep please.

streaming here: http://www.myspace.com/modernamericantheatre

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



17200 Comments


you missed a bracket in the last sentence. great write up.

Slum
December 7th 2010



2579 Comments


Was gonna review this but could never find a download for it. Great review sea

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 7th 2010



10585 Comments


You think I would like this Sea?

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



10258 Comments


adam is this your friend's band or did you just know about this already

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 7th 2010



4459 Comments


Yeah I listened to this and it did nothing for me so I didn't end up reviewing it.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



17200 Comments


I know all these people. they're some of my best friends.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



17200 Comments


sorry dbl post.

PuddlesPuddles
December 7th 2010



4767 Comments


I went out to eat with Bomb the Music Industry!

Just sharing my closest link to stardom

Knott-
Emeritus
December 7th 2010



10194 Comments


123@Keelan

I found the word 'frictionless' to be accurate, but in a negative way.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



15341 Comments


I listened to this and it really didn't have an impact on me positively or negatively. I didn't bother rating it, but if I did I guess it would be a 2.5 or 3.

Digging: Astronauts - Hollow Ponds

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



17200 Comments


to each their own. i genuinely dig it. i'm a sucker for that kind of guitar playing.

couldwinarabbit
December 7th 2010



6996 Comments


2010 hasn't fizzled out Radiohead is still going to put out an album...right guys?

couldwinarabbit
December 7th 2010



6996 Comments


also good review pos and that whole thing. Might get this.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2010



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, this sounds sweet. I may just have to try to fit it in to the heap of music to be listened to.

Hep Kat
December 7th 2010



15034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you didn't italicize the album's name the first time you mention it in the first paragraph. i'm assuming you want it italicized

i liked this

i bought this

i think the album art's cool

prolly the best 8 dollars i spent this year

Digging: Sir Michael Rocks - Banco

marksellsuswallets
December 7th 2010



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'salright.

SeaAnemone
December 7th 2010



19755 Comments


yeah I guess I can see how people didn't like this...

but ehhh it's way too much fun not to like in my eyes.

and thanks guys.

couldwinarabbit
December 7th 2010



6996 Comments


where do I get it though?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010



15341 Comments


http://modernamericantheatre.bandcamp.com/album/we-could-make-a-house





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