Strangest Parade

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A concept album that further expands on Rock Star God's musical explorations, Strangest Parade is a series of dark, dreamlike visions and musings dealing with similar themes of love, violence, death, and redemption. The glam elements of the Makers' music have receded here and, ironically, the band has now almost fully abandoned garage rock, precisely when it has come back into vogue. Orchestrated as an alternating series of rockers and dirge-like anthems, this is in many ways the Makers' most accomplished record; however, a new, more somber songcraft has blossomed largely at the expense of great hooks. "Hard to Be Human," "Calling Elvis, John and Jesus," "Concert of Colors" -- these are well-written and ambitious, but simply aren't as compelling or enjoyable as the band has proven it can be, and as the weighty music unfolds, one may long for the band's less serious side, the side that rocked deliriously and just for the fun of it. However, the listener is rewarded for remaining patient: Part two, which comprises the last three songs, not only offers up the album's most furious rocker, but also a sweet pair of melodies that wrap up Strangest Parade with a sustained catharsis. In the end, though, while it is extremely well-constructed, a terrific closing alone does not a great album make, and on the whole Parade falls short of being a classic Makers record.

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