Sep 24 2009

Ramona Falls – Intuit

Published by at 12:51 pm under MP3's


Ramona Falls is Brent Knopf, programmer, general Renaissance man and one third of the superb Menomena. The band takes its name from an idyllic waterfall somewhere in Oregon, which seems a fitting reflection of Inuits effortless, nearly organic beauty.  I have passing cycles of musical ADD, fleeting affairs with different albums from week to week. This is the first album to stick in a while. For anyone familiar with Menomena, it bears Knopf’s signatures: fluid but hesitant piano leads, jagged guitar harmonics, a casual tenor delivery.  The production is immaculate, encompassing an army of instrumentation, but never anything toward the superfluous. Every percussive blast, every guitar strum, every ethereal harmony and horn flare is precise.  In this way Intuit touches on and expands the great parts of Menomena’s Friend and Foe, hitting a solid pop sensibility with a flair for the insane. From moment to moment I’m hearing the harsher parts of Mount Eerie records, the more lofty parts of Flaming Lips records and something undeniably unique swirling in the ether.

The minute mark on opener “Melectric” hits with a melodramatic surge in instrumentation: mandolin backed by sparse piano, brutal kick hits propelling the visceral tug of Knopfs vocals: “Please, don’t give me false hope/you’re free to go.” At this point Intuit could go straight for the forlorn love epic and remain engaging,  but it decides to go straigh rock n’ roll with the following track “I Say Fever.”

“I Say Fever” exemplifies Knopf’s mind for structure and pacing. It strikes humble beginnings on a post-apocalyptic western guitar groove, peppered again with fragile piano leads and a hesitant vocal delivery. It’s almost like he’s scared of what happens next: a neck-bending guitar breakdown, soaring vocals and fractured harmonies. I defy you not to throw your hands in reverence toward the sky when the chorus in “I Say Fever” hits. Reverence of what? I don’t know. Just shit in general, I guess.

As epic as the aforementioned gets, “Bellyfulla” is the song keeping me up at night.  Intuit finds it’s most intimate moments in Bellyfulla’s sweeping harmonies, in the scattered yet gentle pacing of the acoustic guitar. Knopf drops metaphors speaking to a vague restlessness, while the strings fasten an ephemeral existence as they sweep to and from existence. It’s the defining moment many records hint toward but never hit, a type of resolution that people strive for but can’t find. After the darkness of “I Say Fever” and “Going Once, Going Twice” (where he laments “I’m desperate just to find a respite for my mind”) Knopf has found something in “more happiness than a body can hold.” Hell, I want that. And hell, I nearly find it in those harmonies.

From Intuit:

Ramona Falls – I Say Fever

Ramona Falls – Bellyfulla

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Ramona Falls – Intuit”

  1. Archieon 24 Sep 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Me being from india, dont get much exposure to underground music…People like you are my only hope. So keep posting!

  2. lizon 27 Sep 2009 at 3:07 pm

    i am crazy about this album – one my favorites of the year. great review, couldn’t agree more!

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