The Restoration – Honor The Father

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Music is art.  A fascination with albums of eras ago was the cover art that bands would choose for their work.  It’s a rather curious endeavor, considering the effort put into the music, the imagery to capture the band’s persona or the album’s message, and, to some extent, a visual legacy to their work that will endure.

Revolver, Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours, Nevermind, The Velvet Underground & Nico... imagery that endures.  On the other hand, there are misses.   Ted Nugent’s Scream Dream, Blind Faith’s original cover, ELP’s Tarkus, or David Byrne’s and St. Vincent’s recent collaboration... what were they thinking?  

No worries with The Restoration.  When you buy an album AND opt for the additional goodies, you buy art.  It’s a minor but worthwhile push beyond the boundaries in the digital download era or the limitations of CD packaging.  Can’t stuff posters and photos into an album sleeve like The Beatles’ White Album?  Draw outside the lines.  Why not?

Well, for one, it costs money.  And it only works if 1) there’s a demand and/or 2) it’s a labor of love. 

I can’t speak to the demand of The Restoration’s music, in any form, never mind their tangible products.  But this unknown South Carolina band keeps putting out ideas that fully entertain me. 

Last year it was Constance, a “southern gothic concept album,” with accompanying book including prose, photos, and map.

This year, it’s Honor The Father, another repressive tale set in Lexington, SC, this time in 1954.   The story begins with, like any mystery, a murder, then sets out to explain the events that led up to it.   In short, Old Testament law adopted as a pathway to salvation can lead to unpleasant ends. 

As God struck Onan down for spilling his seed on the ground,
I only followed his design when I found my wife spilling mine.
And when my daughter cursed my name and put the Word of God to blame
I kept the Law, like Abraham, but God did not stop my hand – and she stopped breathing.

Like its predecessor, the songs are a play set to music, with chapters told (sung) by the different characters.  Lyrically compelling, instrumentally appropriate, vocally adequate, in sum.  Leader Daniel Machado returns with a convicted mania to his voice, leading credibility to the central character.  The point here isn’t to score Top 40 hits, but... a catchy refrain wouldn’t hurt.  In fact, it might help the desire to revisit the story again and again. 

And, again, there’s the packaging, from the envelope, to the thank you note, to the purchased gems. 

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But wait! There’s more.

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In the optional package are photographic cards, essentially symbols for each of the songs, and each includes lyrics on the back.  The map?  Well, there’s no purpose to it, really.  And, it seems, there’s an inevitability for this logical extension of a concept album for an artist who likes to draw, a spouse who likes to take pictures, and a general fondness and talent for graphic arts.  On my end, it’s very satisfying to support an artist (perhaps because I’m married to one). 

Now, if only this band would pop over to Georgia for a show...  I’m also looking forward to seeing how the next story leaps forward in time, perhaps, to the 1990’s to feature Lexington’s primary role as an Interstate pit stop for those seeking to avoid Columbia, SC. (as they should).

Music and goodies are available at the band’s website. They literally ship within a day.

Given 3 stars for musical satisfaction, 5 stars for concept and execution, which averages 4 stars... well, consider it a 3.8 for only 7 songs and 25 minutes of music.

4 of 5 STARS

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