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Review: Goliathon, 'Pretend It's Not Happening'



Pretend It's Not Happening

Goliathon said no ideas were off the table when writing their second album, Pretend It's Not Happening. Judging by the results, they weren't kidding.

The south-side quintet's sophomore effort is an album that actually flows like one, not just a collection of hoped-for singles. Given all the shifting dynamics - often in the same song - if there's one part you don't like it'll likely change in short order. That can make Pretend It's Not Happening feel like a meandering opus depending on your attention span, even though it clocks in at a taut 37 minutes.

Opener "Diogenes," destined to be a live staple, is a fine example. Every instrument creeps along initially, even incorporating some midnight movie-sounding keyboards, until it turns into a shuffle that aptly backs Chris Probasco's Robert Plant-level wail. That morphs into a bluesy dirge, then a proggy labyrinth before returning to that shuffle and ending with the group (drummer Matthew Fields, guitarists Derek Kendall and Christian Wren, and bassist Colby Holmes) howling in unison.

So it goes with much of Pretend's 10 compositions. "Jettison" and "Make Tracks" are cinematic in scope, merging everything from action scene tempos and astral trances to Southern-fried stomp and sax sweat courtesy of Probasco. The instrumental "Kebab" deviates from carnivalesque keys to spiraling jams, fathomless depths and a Mars Volta-ian freakout. "Deep Breath" is merely 40 seconds of gelid, solitary piano that comes off like a Floydian reverie. "Frozen White Wasteland" is about the most conventional song here, but still speeds up and slows down with near vertiginous zeal.

As if that wasn't enough, "Sing" closes the proceedings on an interesting but odd note: a Dixie-style jamboree. It may seem like too much for a band this early in their career, but Goliathon clearly aren't waiting on anyone. The chimera of Pretend It's Not Happening may not make for Top 40 material, but it is a thrilling odyssey that should continue ameliorating from sound to stage.


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