Review Summary: A supremely confident and passionate alt-rock album packed to the seams with anthems and positively buzzing with energy.
There's a point midway through opening track "I'll Be Waiting" when it becomes apparent that Poughkeepsie outfit Abel are the sort of band not just capable of surprising you but dead set on it. What it foreshadows is an album in Make It Right
which soars and shrinks in a lot of beautiful ways, finding the melodic threads of Thrice and accentuating them to craft a compelling but immediate alt-rock record which sounds just as assured in the soft balladry of "Come Home" as in the siren-like riff of "Fine Lines". Never content to rest on its laurels, it harbours that ever-elusive blend of hooks and energy, one which comes to the fore on lead single "Daughter" in a gorgeous pre-chorus which comes apart at the seams in a shouted refrain, only to morph back into an affecting post-chorus, at which point I start to lose track of the song's structure and just drown in the beautiful guitar tone.
Abel never step anywhere close to the boundary between rock and punk, even when they're at their most chaotic, but this is no criticism; the wordless chants of "A Grief Observed" are insatiably catchy, the entirety of "Fire Walk With Me" another example of the band's poise and confidence, delivering on a mid-tempo drumbeat which often invited mediocrity but here sounds momentous and engaging. Make It Right
is the sort of rock album that feels as though it should already be in the absolute mainstream, a dynamic-sounding record easily capable of reaching the back of arenas if it were given the chance. "An Ultimatum" proves so, its dramatic second verse declaration that "it's me or your voice, that's one hell of a choice"
a genuine contender for moment of the year, and the song as a whole standing as a microcosm of Abel's song-writing talents. There's real emotion in every chord and word, but it's nothing close to sappy; it takes at least a couple of unexpected twists, but never loses itself; and it just absolute thunders, energetically and dramatically, through a superb hook. It's tough to shake the feeling that there are big things ahead for a band this accomplished.