Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Raising the Fawn / The Maginot Line / Rating: 7.6

“Where Broken Social Scene's narcotic-pop floats effortlessly skyward, Raising the Fawn strive for the same heights through a painstaking, brick-by-brick effort: guitars short out, harmonies crack, and calloused fingers grind fretboards with each abrupt chord change.”

At age 92 my grandmother pretty much does what she pleases. She refuses to go to the dentist to replace the missing front tooth in her bottom bridge, she refuses to leave the house for any reason, and refuses to wear her hearing aids which according to her she “hates to fiddle with” as they are too small for her less than nimble fingers to insert into her ear.

What this all means is to see Irma- you need to come to her. You need to sit close by her chair and you need to yell to be heard. Unless you are talking about marriage, death, diseases / hospitals, or buns in the ovens, she doesn’t appear to really be paying attention to whatever you are shouting about and no matter what you say your conversational pauses are met with a pat on the hand followed by a “That’s nice”.

Her short term memory no longer exists so one also must expect to repeat everything you told her at least three times and you will be force fed ice tea and baked goods until your body can take no more. This has been the routine for several years now and while I have grown accustomed to it and love these visits, I find her attitude contagious.

My ears, my listening skills more specifically feel 90 something. I can’t say I have heard it all but it takes A LOT to get my attention these days and the mundane music, the average, even the slightly above average don’t register on my radar anymore. Even after repeat listens I am not hearing anything I care to remember... so Irma, I feel your pain.

My two hour drive to grandmother’s house (4 hours total travel time) allowed me more than ample time alone with Raising the Fawn’s The Maginot Line. Over 5 listens later I turned off my car stereo to finish the ride in silence. I would rather hear the shushing of wind over my car than the kind of record I have heard a million times before. Something pleasant enough, something totally unchallenging, something another million bands do better, and something a million other bands do worse. Temperamental rock (ooooh it is quiet and ahhhhhh now it is loud) with a vocalist who has a great range but has no idea what to do with it is the record equivalent of a cul-de-sac. My patience for this musical middle ground is dead and while I am sure there are plenty people who are content with the unexceptional, I am no longer one of them. I am not impressed or swayed by the Raising the Fawn’s Broken Social Scene connection and neither should you. The Maginot Line barely deserves a 5 (take that Pitchfork) and just to be polite, a “That’s nice”.