Review : Ramona Falls - Prophet
PopmattersIntuit, Brent Knopf’s first full-length under the Ramona Falls moniker, then a side project, was an inventive release merely hinting at the raw talent and originality displayed throughout the entirety of Prophet. Maybe his departure from his former band, the rightfully massively critically acclaimed Menomena, spurred Knopf to achieve something truly incredible on his own. The heights reached here may also be due in part to finally settling in with a new band, instead of endless collaborations like the ones that littered Ramona Falls’ debut. In whatever case, Prophet is here and it’s one of the first 2012 releases to come close to being an outright masterpiece of artistry.
To fully explain Prophet, the key points of DLR need to be covered first. DLR, (or Deeler, as it’s often referred to) is the device Knopf’s been perfecting over the years. It stands for Digital Loop Recorder and is a system that can loop simultaneous instrumental tracks throughout any given song. The memory capacity of DLR is absurd, as it can store close to everything input into its banks. It’s a device that’s been utilized heavily for the Menomena releases and again for Ramona Falls. It’s also fairly indicative of Knopf and his bands stunning overall musical prowess and versatility. On a variety of tracks throughout his career, Knopf has self-recorded an incredibly wide array of instruments with artful arrangements using the device. He does again on Prophet but isn’t as reliant on it as he’s been in the past. However, this is how so many instruments can be credited to the band Ramona Falls and a small list of collaborators over the course of Prophet‘s 11 tracks.
Of these 11 tracks, Prophet never once wavers in how stunning it is. Every single song sets career highs for Knopf and announces Ramona Falls as a band to be seriously reckoned with. Starting with “Bodies of Water”, it’s immediately evident that Ramona Falls have stepped up their game in nearly every conceivable aspect. Everything feels more fluid, more memorable, and ultimately more complete. It also prepares the listener for how much they have to process as there’s a number of genuinely outstanding moments all throughout every song on Prophet. In the case of “Bodies of Water” some of the triumphs include; the syncopation of the piano line, the vocal melody, the lyrics, and the massive chorus, along with just about everything else. It’s fascinating to hear how well how many instruments complement each other and the song so effectively. “Bodies of Water” is thrilling not just for being an incredible song in its own right but for signaling the start of a sequence that matches it at every opportunity....full text
ConsequenceofsoundThe thing about Portland art rockers Menomena was that they were such an utterly collaborative force–their live shows akin to watching three guys play a game of musical chairs with the instruments onstage. As a result, when Brent Knopf left the group early last year to focus on his Ramona Falls side project, it was difficult to know what to expect. Prophet is Knopf’s second full-length as Ramona Falls but his first since officially leaving his old band. While not surprisingly, the album doesn’t quite match Menomena’s genre-pushing experimentation, it still manages to pack its fair share of enjoyable moments and arty twists into its 11 tracks.
On “The Space Between Lightning and Thunder”, Knopf sings, “I guess it’s now or never/to tell you how I’m feeling” behind a dark, pulsing piano riff. The deeply personal declaration serves as the album’s mission statement and marks the sound of a musician with a new modus operandi. No longer restrained by the group dynamic, tracks like “Spore” exude a candid introspection, both sonically and lyrically, that may even remind some of former labelmates Death Cab for Cutie....full text
IndieshufflePortland’s Ramona Falls is back after three years with their sophomore LP, Prophet, and this is not one to be missed! The twists and turns that this album emits gives way for a captivating and enticing album full of unpredictable orchestrations.
Ramona Falls is led by Brent Knopf (of Menomena fame), and with this project, he’s doing what he does best: using his musical independence and freedom to create an album that is incredibly fresh and sonically bright. There’s a large emphasis on piano and all things orchestral. The combination of orchestral pop, new-wave electronics, and experimental hard indie rock makes for a fearless approach to an album that easily separates itself from most other genres these days. The vocals are resonating and somewhat tragic and the music is eerie yet glittering all at once....full text
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Ramona Falls Lyrics
- 1. Spore
Do you think money can buy happiness?