Every so often one comes across a release that is spectacular on not only the first listen but keeps getting better on subsequent hearings, and when this happens it can leave the listener with a feeling of incredulity akin to, “how is it possible to love this album even more and more?”
Yours To Keep by Calgary’s Makeshift Innocence is one such rare gem. Where much of the music in today’s homogenized pop and rock scene is disposable drivel, Makeshift Innocence has accomplished a rare feat by producing a memorable work that deserves consideration as the feel-good release of 2012.
The entire album sparkles with an organic sincerity that speaks directly to the soul. The eleven-track collection’s opener, “When You’re Down”, could be a world-wide smash hit, the kind that touches people’s hearts and goes viral. The ensuing ten tracks take us on a journey that not only plasters a joyful smile across one’s face but creates those rare endorphin rushes that occur when an artist produces something truly great. Remarkably this assertion remains unchanged even after dozens upon dozens of hearings. You could listen to this album ten times or a thousand times, and it will never get old, stale, or overplayed.
Lead singer Jesse-James Cameron croons with a natural sincerity that gives cred to his wonderfully intelligent lyrics, lyrics that deal with matters of the heart, friendship and the timeless concept that love can indeed conquer all. In the process he evokes the styles of a couple of musical legends who’ve tread these waters before him. For example, the heart and soul of Roy Orbison can be heard during the chorus of the album’s third track, “Always Be True”. A little further down the track listing Cameron’s vocal styling during “Hold Me Up” is likely to remind older listeners of a young Paul Simon. This is not to say that the effort or result is in any way derivative. It takes phenomenally gifted artists to remind of us of legendary influences while creating something that is totally their own.
Musically the record sparkles with clean, clear warm production that not only survives but thrives in today’s compressed iPod/MP3 listening environment. Another unusual accomplishment displayed on Yours To Keep is the blending of genres from reggae to folk to singer-songwriter pop. Most young bands today try to do one thing well and hope for the best. Makeshift Innocence’s incredible talent allows them to make these minor shifts of genre in a way that adds to, as opposed to detracting from, the whole listening experience. There is not a melody, groove or note out of place in the entire work.
Given the preceding it is hardly surprising that the band won the $200,000 first prize in Calgary’s Amped Radio Rockstar Finals which propelled them to a lengthy tour of the U.S. from which they have recently returned. For more info on this amazing Canadian-bred talent you can visit their website, where Yours To Keep is also available for order. The album is also available on iTunes.