When Fugazi's VW Microbus crashed into Frank Zappa's Mothership of Invention, the collision sounded a lot like Make Believe. Released last year, the quartet's debut EP -- building on impressive resumés from groundbreaking post-hardcore bands like Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc and Owls -- only hinted at the act's potential for jazzy, angular post-punk. On the Chicago-based outfit's first long-player, Shock of Being, grooves are built and torn down; cryptic (and often humorous) lyrics are repeated until they almost make sense; and baroque guitar lines bob and weave, drunk on their own mathematics. The album's opener, "His Short Quip When Eddie's Bothered," shamelessly and shockingly lifts the familiar hook from Neil Young's "Ohio" and drops it unceremoniously into a musically foreign land. Expect to be dazzled by the ensemble's dexterity and refusal to conform to any expectations -- and be sure to wear a seatbelt.
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