Abel - Make It Right - By Volume

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Abel – Make It Right

A spectacularly passionate record with energy, heart and punch.

Author: on September 19, 2012
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Sometimes it seems like music is divided at birth between the emotional and the exciting, as though bands grow up listening to one and ignoring the other. Not New York alt-rock quartet Abel, though, whose brand new album Make It Right roars its way in with equal measures of impulse and reflection, a fluid blend of Thrice-tinged grit and Brand New-flavoured atmosphere atop a foundation of superbly catchy songwriting. Its ten compelling songs play out as a victory for sincere and passionate songwriting. The honesty is key.

The band’s guitarist, Dan Bishop, agrees. The only conscious decision we made on this album was to try to make the lyrics as honest as possible, he told us. There was definitely some subject matter that we covered that came either directly from conflict in our lives or that people we know and care about were going through. And that absolutely influenced our sound.

That sound is phenomenally dynamic, as powerful in the hushed picking of “Come Home” – reminiscent of Manchester Orchestra’s more poignant moments – as it is in the climax of explosive second single “Daughter”. The record was produced by Matt Malpass, who mixed Copeland’s 2009 masterpiece You Are My Sunshine, but his task here is an altogether more aggressive deal. Dan explained where the record’s dark vigor came from:

Ultimately, I think most of us prefer listening to moodier or darker music. It’s certainly the kind of music I enjoy writing and playing so I’m hoping that’s the direction we keep heading in. Matt has a great ear for tone. He had very specific ideas about what guitar and amp combination he wanted to use for certain sounds while [frontman] Kevin [Kneifel] was recording his guitar parts.

Lyrically, the record is as intense as they come, a document of “strained relationships and personal failures” and the struggle to overcome them. It means that Kneifel’s vocals are frequently tormented; the stories told on Make It Right are compelling in themselves, and even moreso when attached to the sort of sonic and songwriting vitality that Bishop says came about as the result of focused writing sessions:

Half the band is separated by nearly 2 hours of travel time, so we end up trying to make the most of our practices by putting in a lot of hours in one sitting. One weekend three of us were lucky enough to get out to a friend’s house who lived in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of New York. It was cool to get away from our normal practice routine and that really helped us focus and lock in a few songs later on in the writing of this album.

Whatever brought it about, Make It Right is an exceptional and exhilarating listen, one which is both deserving and absolutely capable of reaching arena crowds. Its ten songs are all anthems in their own right, spirited and intriguing but never overwrought. As “Your Heart, Your Soul” climaxes in a wall of guitars around the album’s most revealing lyric, it seals Make It Right as a spectacular achievement. “We all think that we are the same! But I know your heart from my heart! I know your bones from my bones!” There’s something quite special about this one.

Make It Right is out now. You can stream and buy the record below through Abel’s Bandcamp.

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