In Ink Please & The Foliage – How To Make Better Love (CD)

In Ink Please & The Foliage – How To Make Better Love (Split) / 2004 Fall Records / 10 Tracks / http://www.ininkplease.com / http://www.fallrecords.com
/the_foliage / Reviewed 19 September 2004

Another two-piece band, In Ink Please enjoys a rich instrumentation and willingness to experiment that keeps individuals listening. The split starts off with “AQ75#3”, led by by Vanessa’s strong voice and a slightly-jangly acoustic guitar. Assaulting and pushing the track forward with eir’s staggered vocals, Vanessa makes this track end just as quickly as it started. Continuing the Dar Williams/acoustic-in-coffee shop type feel to their music, “Al Roker controls the weather”. The odd arrangement of the vocals finally whiffs during their third cut from the disc, “The Kurdish Army”, which doesn’t seem to completely mesh with the guitars that are laid down for it. Each shot on this disc by In Ink Please finds the target at nearly the same place; while each song is solid and lush, there is a minor amount of musical slurring – I can’t discern the tracks from one another. They make Hum’s “The Very Old Man” theirs by assimilating it brutally and forcing it stand like another Bong drone. Finishing off their side of the split with “It’s like it’s a band party…”, In Ink Please end as strong as they started, using dissonance to create a diametrical opposite to the heart-breakingly beautiful instrumentation on this track. The Foliage have much less to work with on their side of the disc, only having 4 tracks to In Ink Please’s 6. Electronic blips and lines open up a very ethereal sounding intro for “Leviathan”. “Leviathan” has Charlie’s vocals poke their head through the electronic sea at moments, but the focus on this track is too diffuse to really have eir’s voice as a beacon. Thus, the listener’s ear is unsure where to focus, a problem that could have been corrected by increasing the volume of the vocals on the track. In a much more accessible and radio-friendly track, their cover of “Naomi” breaks any cohesion that they might have built upon from the previous track. Ending the disc is the seven and a half minute epic “Cadence is a sad valley girl”, The Foliage’s journey in the form perfected by The Cure on their Disintegration album. The wash of the sea that breaks the two sections of the song is fitting, as the muted voice of Marie is a good transition for the chorus that ends the track. The split matches together two very solid bands, and while there are times when In Ink Please finds themselves in a rut, but all and all, they hardly disappoint. Top Tracks: IIP – AQ75#3 TF – Naomi Rating: 6.5/10

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