Ramona Falls may be the result of having too much talent in too small of a room. That seems to be the most logical explanation for the new band formed by Brent Knopf (consisting, incidentally, of only Brent Knopf) and their eclectic debut record Inuit
. The second third of the band Menomena to delve into a side project, Knopf delivers a collection of energetic tunes and diverse musicians that should successfully tide over fans until the mother-band finally releases its long-delayed fourth record.
The most obvious thing aboutInuit
is how much it sounds like a Menomena release. The distant doubling of reverb-heavy vocals, the syncopation, the versatile percussion, the sad piano and gently strummed strings; it would be a fair question to ask whether there are any differences at all. But a fair question is not the same as a good question. Of course there are differences: Besides being an entirely different band, Ramona Falls is more melancholy, less electric, and vaguely more poetic. But even if Knopf's new project does sound a bit like the band from which it sprouted, the point is little more than moot. After all, Knopf was not only a multi-instrumentalist with Menomena, but he also developed their looped recording technique and it would be very strange, indeed, if he didn't take advantage of that technology on own solo release.
More interesting than the band they resemble is that Ramona Falls, while declaring only one man an official member, is the result of nearly three dozen other musicians including Paul Alcott, Matt Sheehy, Cherilyn Macneil, and the whole of Loch Lomond, among many talented others. That a surprisingly fluent album resulted from this vast pool of artists is not only a testament to their individual aptitudes, but more so to Knopf's unusual ability to allow several layers of creativity to breath freely while still controlling the whole of the project so that it arrives at the goal he'd set out for in the first place.
Whether or not Ramona Falls will remain an incestuous competitor for the attention of Menomena fans or is simply here for a brief interlude remains to be seen. For now, what's most important is recognizing a brilliant album when it comes out of the gates regardless of who created it, what name the band goes by, or which impetus did us the favor of bringing it to life.
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MP3: Ramona Falls - "I Say Fever" (Intuit)
Ramona Falls on Myspace