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La Makita Soma: Brighton Park

Eden Miller

La Makita Soma

Brighton Park

Label: Some Odd Pilot
US Release Date: 2007-02-28

Brighton Park suffers from sounding like it is music made by computers. Yes, La Makita Soma obviously has real people in it -- there's a photograph of the band members included with the press release, and even real instruments can be detected in the music, but all in all, La Makita Soma feels faceless and a bit cold. Brighton Park is mood music, except without the mood.

There is something that is too perfect about Brighton Park. The tracks rise and fall with calculated precision. Nothing is surprising, from the guitar break in the middle of "Glossalalia at 47th" to the dramatic build of "Lexington & Campbell". While there is a sense of warmth and humanity to La Makita Soma's music, it is sadly soulless. None of Brighton Park seems like it is the product of true emotion, but rather the idea of what emotion would sound like if it was programmed. As fascinating as the album can be at times, it leaves listeners with the sense that La Makita Soma is trying to manipulate them rather than drawing them in, and this is where the band fails.

The effervescent electronics tend to keep Brighton Park from falling apart, and the childlike sounds prevent La Makita Soma from becoming too pretentious. Still, Brighton Park does become unintentionally silly in places, such as on the exhaustingly long "The Makita Five" with its primitive sound effects that seem like they were stolen from Atari video games. The band, like its pink-drenched cover art, has a sort of subversive cuteness, but it is mostly ineffectual.

The tracks "Spaceship", which features rapper Hi-Fidel, and the title track, with its backing of sounds of children playing, help bring La Makita Soma back to the real world and are consequently two of the more memorable tracks. Otherwise, most of Brighton Park plays, and then fades from the listener's mind. It is not so much forgettable as it is insubstantial. Nothing about Brighton Park has been designed to linger.

While the construction of the individual tracks is generally very deliberate and complete, the songs all build to an album that is too long for its own good. La Makita Soma doesn't seem to have much of a vision or message to share, and listening to over an hour of mostly empty instrumental music gets dull pretty quickly. While a couple of songs clock in under four minutes, La Makita Soma tends to prefer longer song lengths, which is ultimately pointless since most of the songs just loop around the same sounds repeatedly, sending listeners into a daze. The few things that La Makita Soma does that are interesting get lost quickly as listeners grow weary of this music.

Brighton Park is definitely an album listeners could put on and forget about, but that's not exactly praise. While a few sparks of interest may catch listeners' ears every now and then, mostly, if they sit through the whole CD, they'll be left with the impression of "that was kind of nice" and then move on immediately to something else. La Makita Soma can obviously make music that is well-constructed with complicated arrangements of electronics and instruments, but next time, let's hope it makes music that actually has some emotion behind it and not just craft.

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