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Ramona Falls – Prophet April 26, 2012

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
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Artist: Ramona Falls

Album: Prophet

Release: Barsuk, 2012

Genre: Rock

RIYD: Menomena, St. Vincent

Though Brent Knopf recently split off from the Menomena trio to focus more on his solo work as Ramona Falls (a tragedy akin to the dissolution of The Books), it seems from his sophomore effort that he’s moving in parallel to his former band. Ramona Falls’ debut in 2009, Intuit, found him and his collaborators constructing twinkling, looping pop melodies akin to those on Menomena’s Friend And Foe from 2007. Now, just as Menomena shed their cuteness in favor of a darker, grittier, more rock & roll sound on 2010’s Mines, Ramona Falls follows in step with the release of Prophet.

This is no big surprise, however, as tracks like “I Say Fever” foreshadowed this change in sound, and the difference is that now they’re the norm instead of the deviation. Keeping the same loop-based approach (and likely with the help of Knopf’s “Deeler” invention), the band is still making mildly psychedelic experimental rock, but the sample material is changing. Instead of the whimsical and lighthearted bells and whistles, Knopf more often uses heavy guitar power chords and drum hits. This is especially evident on tracks like “Sqworm” and “Brevony”, which push the thrashing of Menomena hits like “TAOS” and “BOTE” to the next level.

This is not to say that Ramona Falls abandon their softer side completely. The gentle folk feel of “Proof” rivals the beauty of Intuit-closer “Diamond Shovel”, while the twinkling embellishments and orchestral arrangements on opener “Bodies Of Water”, lead single “Spore”, and “If i equals u” gleam with the same charm as the best of Knopf’s work. Prophet also shows off some of the new tricks that Ramona Falls have up their sleeves in “Archimedes Plutonium” and closer “Helium”, including some catchy, jangle-pop riffs and elegant strings thrown into some unexpected compositions.

While it is a shame that Knopf split off from his main band (as his presence will surely be missed on their releases to come), Menomena fans can at least temporarily rejoice in the fact that Ramona Falls is delivering the same goods and following in the same evolution of sound. Prophet excels in the same way that Mines did back in 2010, and it’s exciting to think of all the great music that will come from the future of both bands.

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[…] Collective’s Centipede Hz. Combined with all of the other excellent follow-ups from Grimes, Ramona Falls, Here We Go Magic, Liars, and Fiona Apple, it seems like 2012 is more of a year for already-popular […]

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