Make Believe

Shock of Being

As angular rock goes, Tim Kinsella's Make Believe sounds nothing like Bloc Party or Franz Ferdinand; its math funk hearkens toward '80s hardcore heroes such as the Minutemen and Run Westy Run, not Gang of Four. But even though dopey 4/4 disco drumming doesn't mar Shock of Being, it still sounds wearily monotonous, even for a 42-minute disc.

Make Believe is the Chicago-based Kinsella's latest band, but its powers pale in comparison to his other one-time ensembles, Joan of Arc and Owls. The musicianship, and the way Sam Zurick's fine guitar licks sail over bassist Bobby Burg and drummer Nate Kinsella's off-kilter rhythm section, is uniquely impressive as well as frustratingly limited. "The Storm on Her Birthday," for example, ends with two minutes of the band playing the same chords over and over again.

Meanwhile, Kinsella spins out verses of cryptic beat poetry, occasionally yielding great lines such as "One Zero's" "You've got that I'm-Archduke-Ferdinand-and-I-just-got-shot face on." He meanders vocally, though his screams and growls on "Saywhat?" make for a small highlight. Throughout, one gets the sense that Shock of Being isn't his best work.