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Intercept - Magnolia Road

Magnolia Road

Intercept

Available from Intercept's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

An extremely fetching blend of soft rock, soft prog, and driving rock and roll, Intercept crafts a brand of music impossible to resist. Right from the opening cut, with its cleverly arranged Pink Floyd space-country background decorating an entrancing vocalist's alluring delivery, Magnolia Road builds a very pleasant foundation. Stand Back draws the attention happily in, then bursts like a dam, quickening the heartbeat while rejuvenating the spirit. The second cut's just as good, a pristinely engineered contrast of delicately picked chords and power blocks emphasizing singer Christian's (no surnames are given anywhere) floating pipes delivering enigmatic lines of wistful trepidation.

Emo and shoegaze make their ways subtly into Intercept's music. The lads have absorbed their histories well and don't insult the listener with dry recitations or facile insertions. Two Broken Astronauts blends a bit of Radiohead, Kayak, Thompson-era Manfred Mann, Pink Floyd once again, and a generous dollop of the most satisfying soft rock available. The result is bafflingly singular while irresistibly chart-friendly, catching a mid-point between genres not usually so well-blended without becoming goopy and bland.

Much of Magnolia Road is quartet based with acoustically oriented refrains and bases, so much so that even the roaring parts are clearly a matter of tremendously amplified exhilaration overtopping the laybacks in bursts of energy and expression. Listen carefully for some of the band's subtler effects, as with the recessed secondary guitar lines in Four Letter Word, a clever blend of the bass' and guitar's functions, then trip out to the middle eight's wah-wah'ed lead line. Beautiful, so much expression in such a clean and uncomplicated set of measures, continuing on to watch over the rest of the song until its end, harking back to compositional techniques lost to modern mainstream ensembles.

Mention should be made here of Rhonda Kelley, of the Rainmaker PR unit, who has a singular talent for understanding what direction certain underexposed intelligent musics should be taking. Over the past year or so, she's submitted a string of exceptional releases, and this group, along with Trueheart and several others, is at the top of the pile. Trueheart may be more slanted to trad chart ambiences, but Intercept is a treasure of arresting nu-rock somewhat along the lines of John Orsi's non-hard-prog ensembles like Overflower. We could do with a hell of a lot more music like this.

Track List:

  • Stand Back
  • Gravity
  • Two Broken Astronauts
  • Imaginary Friends
  • Four Letter Word
  • Push
  • Home
  • One Way Drive
  • Avigail
  • Beautiful One
  • Berlin
  • Drift
All songs by Intercept.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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