ALBUM REVIEW: MAKARI – HYPERREAL

Releasing a debut album can be a scary and intimidating moment for any band. This could be your make or break moment. This will be the first time the world gets the full spectrum of what your band has to offer. This is the time that they’ll then decide whether you’re the type of music they want to have at the top of their self-made playlist they put together, sitting at home and twiddling around on iTunes, or if you’re to be swiftly moved to the Recycle Bin app never to be heard from again. Sure, you may have released an EP or two beforehand and undoubtedly multiple listeners had given them a spin multiple times, but typically people reserve their full judgement for that full LP, as an EP is typically only a minor taste of your bands potential. Now throw into the mix that there may have been a changing of the guard so to speak with a new vocalist taking the mic’s helm, and assuredly once again you’ve thrown an unknown into what the outcome will be with the public’s overall perception on what you hope to be considered a masterpiece. Well with their debut album and new singer/vocal phenom Andy Cizek, Makari can set aside any fears or worries. No matter what they put out in the past (which both EP’s were very well received in actuality), or what they decide to do in the future, Hyperreal will more than likely always be considered for one, a stunning addition to their catalog as well as being a wondrously strong debut. Retaining their ambient guitar play from the two previous EP’s, along with infectious melodies and Andy Cizek’s insane vocal range, Hyperreal will have everything that made Makari great from day one, while soaring into an ethereal new airspace of musicality ne’er heard before from the group to entice an entirely new fan-base.

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Genre: Progressive Rock | Ambient Rock | Alternative Rock
Label: InVogue Records
Release: August 3, 2018
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play
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Starting out the album is the beyond catchy track “Better”. Cleverly plucked guitar chords lead into a more than danceable style of bass-line and drumming. Regardless of the almost poetic level of lyricism and emotion behind the overall message of the song, this song is the epitome of a groove you could tap your feet to. Your head will only follow suit by bobbing along to the harmonious beat and rhythm. Andy Cizek’s vocals soothe with the music so perfectly, as if he and the band thought out every tone and melody to perfectly pair his vocals to the notes of the instruments yet not so much as to blend each other into oblivion. For anyone familiar with Cizek, they know he has one of the more wider ranges of the many singers out there today and for those who have not heard his talents before, this track will show you that from a lower croon to a higher falsetto this man knows no bounds.

It’s kind of funny; the song “The Jar” seems to be about an individual who seems to be severely stuck in their ways. Never striving for something more in their life, they’ve become comfortable in the stagnant nothingness they’ve let their life settle into. Forever to be stuck inside this glass enclosure unless they learn to do something magnificent to break out of their metaphorical prison that they have seemingly become accustomed to. Now, the funny part is musically this song feels like anything but being trapped or held back. One might wonder if behind this message of pushing for more, Makari’s plan the whole time was to have a hidden message of positivity within the sounds put forth by their instruments. Listening to the music seems to instill a sense of ambition and drive, perhaps strategically placed for those listeners who themselves may be trapped with ‘a jar’ to use as a tool to break out of said pattern. The music is fun, while retaining that message in a bottle feel to it. Whether or not this was Makari’s intentions it works one way or another, pulling the listener in even closer to not only pay attention to the more than well written message, but to enjoy the absolutely stunning musicianship behind it all.

The second single released off of Hyperreal is the kind of song that sums up what ambient rock can truly be, when you have a group of talented musicians behind it that put every ounce of passion into their material and you can literally hear each thought that went into each and every note and beat put forth. The sounds take your mind on a journey that feel like time is fleeting away from you, and it all could end at any moment. “Transient” totally encapsulates the definition of the word (: lasting only for a short time; impermanent.), not only through its sounds but through the heartfelt words sung forth by Andy Cizek. So many of us take so much for granted in our lifetimes, hoping that any moment of greatness will come without us having to do much at all or that we’re entitled to something better than what our lives seem to be at any present time. We can all actually have these things, but if we honestly want them then we must fight to get them ourselves. Life is over in the blink of an eye, and what we do with our time and what we have to show for ourselves in the end is entirely up to us. This track through both words and sounds is the perfect teacher for that lesson. One could only hope that the world will listen. Sonically the song overall has a mostly upbeat sound, with the bridge honing in on that ambient sound Makari are so fantastic at (not to be heavy handed, but the word ‘ambience’ is even in the lyrics of the bridge, which to the listener should help to amplify the previous statement).

Wouldn’t it be the most incredible thing if we could take any reality of our choosing and then manipulate and exaggerate it to the point that it is our most perfect idea of reality? If we could pick and choose which parts of our lives we loved the most, and which times we wished to remove or edit and then turn each and every day into simply highlights of what makes us the happiest? That is exactly what the song and title track “Hyperreal” is all about. Andy Cizek speaks of a romance of which he wishes to retain all of those picture-perfect moments while ‘editing’ the bad parts out as if he were working on a film. He twists and configures the scenes he wishes would last forever, but in the end much like actual reality we realize there is no controlling it in the end. Musically the song has an almost amusing, ‘Hollywood’ feel to it. As if Makari wanted to bend and form their own reality through melody. Not to beat a dead horse, but as previously stated the group has an unreal way of utilizing catchy rhythms to pull in their listener to a melodic tap and bop along, and this song is no different.

Much like their bouncier more upbeat sounding songs, Makari are no strangers to creating the opposite side of those sounds with more smooth, subtle, almost sad sounding element to manifest those exact feelings through sonance. “Hollow”, not only a more morose sounding title, but its overall tonality almost reflects what its title could imply. Beginning with a sullen sounding (yet beautifully played) guitar plucking, a subtle tapping of the cymbals is played, almost reminiscent of rain lightly splashing in a puddle. The drumming picks up every so slightly and Andy Cizek lulls his words, oozing a saddened emotion through the speakers. Music can do something so surreal in painting a picture within the listeners mind that perfectly depicts the title, words, or even the overall tone of the song and “Hollow” does exactly that. It’s incredible. For a song that musically has so many intricate parts, it truly does make you feel as if there’s nothing there.

Releasing a debut album is absolutely a daunting situation for any band. Typically, there isn’t much gray area with your first full release. People either love it or hate it. Those rarified ‘in the middle’ type folk aren’t even what you’re hoping for, but they can at the very least help to bring an overall more positive reception to what you hope will be received so well. Makari should have little to no fear that Hyperreal will be nothing short of being immensely loved once the world gets to hear all they have in store. With each and every song on this album, the group has shown that an ambient or alternative rock sound can be so much more than anything remotely simple or plain. There are so many different elements and intricacies that they have painstakingly put into each and every track that even to call this album ‘well written’ would barely be giving it justice. Each musician of the group has poured every ounce of themselves into their individual parts that when added together formed a beautiful symbiosis that’s pleasing and soothing to the ear, all while retaining such powerful emotion and adding in a touch of fun for good measure. Andy Cizek was the perfect addition to the group adding a range of vocals rarely heard before from Makari. Hyperreal will truly be one of the greatest debuts that this style of music has ever had.

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