The Makeout Room, The Makeout Room EP: Four Stars
• Genre(s): Garage rock, punk, indie
• You’ll like it if: You like to be punished.
• Defining song: “All The Time” — The opening number snarls more than a kennel of Rottweilers. Unwary listeners may draw back one less ear.
Ah, the EP — sometimes a teaser, sometimes a merciful ender to a band that needs to be put down like an injured horse. Asheville’s Makeout Room falls into the former. The band has quite a pedigree, housing former members of the Labiators, Sugar and the Plums, Drug Money, and the Low Numbers. Drummer Josh Carpenter also does bass stints with On The Take (see live review below).
The album is like being hit by a constant barrage of uppercuts, yet it finishes before the bell rings. There is no drop in the action, from the visceral opener to the final cover of Roky Erickson’s (founder of the 13th Floor Elevators) “You’re Going to Miss Me.” Despite the power chords, the band (much like Reigning Sound) is able to groove. The mind may heed the aggression, but the body will succumb to unfettered shimmying. Fans of this sound will be banging on Makeout Room’s door, desiring longer spanking sessions from (hopefully) a future LP.
On the Take at Fred’s Speakeasy, Tuesday, Nov. 29: Three Stars
• Genre(s): Rock, elements of pop, indie
• Be glad you stayed home if: You have no tolerance for bands still in their crawling stage.
• Defining moment: “Stay Awhile” — One of the few moments of adhesion, this tune showed a band capable of creating songs with staying power.
When drummer Justin Whitlow (formerly of Cannibal Unicorn and the fabulous Reductio Ad Absurdum) told me his new band is more “pop-oriented,” I should have known this would be the kind of pop that would vaporize the Partridge Family on contact. His intensity on the kit (inspired by the drumming polyrhythms of death metal) should propel his infant band out of its awkward phase. Unfortunately, the trio that makes up On The Take are still in the throes of figuring each other out. Each member has an adept knowledge of music, and if they can accept each other’s musical inputs, the band will soon be pleasantly viscous. Their beauty resides in their efficient numbers — no song was more than three minutes, yet there were enough changes to keep things interesting. What’s lacking right now is a constant flow, but it’s to be expected with any band that’s only a couple of months old. “Asheville doesn’t deserve you,” one patron yelled out. A foreshadowing, perhaps, that this small room will soon be stuffed with flocks of followers waiting for adrenalized pop goodness.
[When he’s not bending readers to his will, Hunter Pope cooks, gardens, hikes and spends his mortgage money on CDs he’s never heard.]