The Make-Up has returned to the ring with a couple of records that prove its collective arms aren’t too short to box with God. Whereas the Make-Up’s debut, Destination: Love, had an audience grafted on in the studio, After Dark (Dischord) was recorded live in London. It’s a perfect representation of the band’s raucous gospel yeh-yeh grooves and Ian Svenonius’ unrivaled method-acting ownership of the stage.
“Hopefully, it captured some kind of quality of our live
show, more than Destination: Love,” says Svenonius. “It’s more furious. We wanted to release it because it shows where we’re at in terms of our proposed gospel identities. The live record is more like theater.”
For the K Records release Sound Verite, the band teamed with the label’s Calvin Johnson to record a collection of loose grooves that play to the rhythm section of Michelle Mae and Steve Gamboa, with James Canty shading the funky outlines and, as usual, Svenonius lettin’ it all hang out. “I never write lyrics,” Svenonius admits. “If you [write them down] they just sound stymied. You just have to go in with some vague idea.”
For Svenonius, a vague idea seems to lead to conspiracy theories, as evidenced by such titles as
“If They Come in the Morning” and “Make Up Is Lies.”
“Calvin called me paranoid,” Svenonius recalls, and if you read Sound Verite’s liner notes you might agree. Svenonius quizzes potential critics with a list of six things they should consider before passing judgment: “DO NOT REVIEW, IF: 1.) U R not prepared to discuss the experiance [sic] inside. 2.) The review would inevitably lead to the subject being assimilated into the vulgar world it proposes to assassinate….3.) The review would invoke those grotesque undefined terminologies to describe the event…”
“Everybody’s fixated with symbols and labels….Everyone’s got bigoted assumptions. Whatever…,” Svenonius asserts, before adding, “I don’t mean to sound like George Michael! I realized that afterwards.”Christopher Porter