For many weeks, I’ve grappled with what to say, exactly, about Many Places. More to the point, the “how” of their music — how it’s ingested, that is — seemed to so starkly contrast with the way I usually listen to new work.
Only upon realizing that idea, that shift — however subtle — could I finally begin appreciating what they were doing for me, and probably listeners like me, on Another Oath.
Readers of this page may know that most of what I write here largely comes from me repurposing music on the go. That is, I take it with me on an inbound train to the city, or up and down the ped path hugging Lake Michigan, and so on. Evening runs, come to think, are the where and when of a good amount of my prep and research. What, with room to roam and just one album pumping in and around my system, it’s been the kind of setting where I can enjoy and concentrate on the music at hand — regardless of the fact that I’m exhausting quite a bit of energy running down a path hastily populated by persons of all types.
Many Places stubbornly rejects this. However attentive I might be in such setting — and I think I am. I’m heading nowhere in particular, and music totally envelops at least one of my five senses — I realized that that kind of devotion wasn’t enough for a band like Many Places.
The challenge in a band like Many Places is, I’ve found, that they’re fully appreciated at night, in a bed or something comparably comfortable, at a time completely devoid of distraction. Only then can the listener pick up on the blips and gurgles and other imperfections (some intentioned, probably) that make their debut LP so pleasing.
Forwarded to me by the folks at Tandem Shop, Many Places isn’t portable, then, but a placated band that challenges its listeners to keep stationary; at rest. To do different might totally bastardize what they’d set out to make.
Perhaps the finest example is in “Blankenship,” an entirely instrumental piece that combines gentle guitar with any number of common sounds — heels clicking down a hallway, chirping birds, chairs scraping against tile… a tea kettle? — into a thing of remarkable beauty. But such small bits might go totally unrecognized, maybe, without mindful attention.
The album’s first single, “Helmut Hug,” below:
- The Chicago-based Many Places is Kevin Rieg, Matt Hennessey, Nick Godden and Marcus Maloney. | Facebook
- Many Places will formally release Another Oath at The Whistler on June 10. Support: Zapruder Point. Free. | Event Info
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