While listening to the latest release from South Carolina’s The Restoration, one almost wishes there was a novel accompanying the disc. While I’m guessing that one does in fact exist, it may never leave the mind of brainchild Daniel Machado. Not the whole novel, anyway. Many pieces and parts of it are scattered throughout, but I doubt Tolstoy could have gotten Anna Karenina to fit on a compact disc, just like I am sure there are other happenings in the life of Constance, the main character and title of the Restoration’s first full-length, that did not make the final cut.
Machado describes the album as “an attempt to deconstruct the tradition of Christian morality in the South and explore a range of conflicting theological interpretations through the album’s characters,” and this is exactly what the album does as it follows Constance throughout her life’s struggles. Daniel goes on to explain that, “Though Constance takes place at the turn of the twentieth century and uses themes and techniques for discussing gender and race common to that period, I wanted to bring those devices into the more accessible realm of popular song in hopes of holding a mirror to the bigotry that still results from theological interpretations today.” Wait a second, is he saying that God didn’t want slavery in the South, or that the wine Jesus drank was really like grape juice and didn’t have alcohol? I’m confused…
Make no mistake that these songs and the album’s theme can sit rather heavy, but don’t let that turn you off from giving it a spin. The music of Constance ranges from jubilant to yearning and features gorgeous violin, nicely picked banjo and a number of other stringed instruments. The standout in my mind is the album’s closer, “The Lynching,” and “Drowning Mr. and Mrs. Palmer.” I figure if you’re going to do dramatic, then go all out, and that is just what the band does with these two tracks. Chalk Constance up as a fine Americana release for 2010 and keep the Restoration on your radar for 2011.
RIYL: The Good Book, Restless Heart videos, H2O (otherwise known as water)
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