by Nathan Cardiff

Sixteen massive tracks and over an hour in length, the sprawling landscape that Make-Out With Violence inhabits is a stunning one. There is no other way to describe this album than epic. A massive achievement, the record settles for nothing but the best. The beats, the instruments, the lyrics, and most of all the emotion in Make-Out With Violence are top-notch.

The slick opener “Chief” starts with the cool vocals of Miles Bonny, before Approach comes in and cuts through like a knife; clean, smooth, sharp as all hell. The chills you get from this first track last until the very end of the record. The buzzing bass follows on “Of A 1,000,” the harmony on the chorus (just like the lyrics) keeping you captivated (“take a glance/you’re in a trance”).

Approach is an artist who takes a great deal of pride in where he is from; there a references to Kansas & Kansas City all over the record and of course the great shout-out to a former KU basketball great in “I’m Still Here (Jacque Vaughn).” This track is paired perfectly with “Parade” a spacey, cosmic tune that will make you feel like you are floating across the room. The scratches at the beginning of “The Oaks” bring you back to the ground and have you bobbing your head instantly. When we come to track six, we have the first of two lengthiest tracks on the record; “While Seated (She Burned)/Casiotone” does a 180 degree turn at four minutes in, the soft keys fading in like the sun in your windows. Lisa Donnelly’s gorgeous voice mixed with Approach’s vocal effects (all at once lost and confident; torn with emotions) work wonderfully.

I found myself repeating the song “LipKissFantastic” over and over again. The guitar in the background is just subtle enough and yet a prominent part of the track. It’s a great upper after the warm and glowing “On A Diamond Blade” and lead in to “Medium/Thick” and its awesome organ. Over all of these tracks and their fantastic production, comes Approach’s raw and honest lyrics. “Love, love/I’m gonna get right one of these times” he starts on “LipKiss” before singing “Love, love, what a beautiful thing/Sparks from the heart flying, saying your name.” What is especially great about this is that it sounds like he is simply starting the song over letting us know that he’s made a mistake, but the beautiful part of this is how it doubles as a confession about making mistakes with love. Tracks like these are what make Approach a genius.

The last half the record never stops the momentum; the juggernaut rolls forth. The dance floor killer “Prosidio Garden (4 The Heathers)” has you on your feet and then plunging into the infinite “Deep (The Blue).” The last track on the record “To The Moon/Sir Elegance” opens with what may be the heaviest bass on Make-Out With Violence. It plays at its own pace and then suddenly goes silent. Approach comes back with a laugh and then hits us with an industrial style second half that may be the most intense moment on the album.

I can’t fathom the amount of work that went into this record. Every subtle moment, the guest artists, the instrumentals, the words; this is a man with a tremendous reputation already and Make-Out With Violence matches it. To not feel the pure power behind these tracks is impossible. Approach has created a masterpiece.

Favorite Tracks: “The Oaks,” “While Seated (She Burned)/Casiotone,” “LipKissFantastic,” “Prosidio Garden (4 The Heathers),” & “Deep (The Blue)”

by Nathan Cardiff

Editor’s note: Approach’s CD Release Party for “Make-Out With Violence” will be this Saturday, October 12, at the Replay. You can RSVP to the event on Facebook here.

Editor’s note: Bonus!! Amazing documentary on the making of Make-Out With Violence. The video helps you understand just how much of a labor of love the album became.



Nathan has contributed to I Heart Local Music since November 2012. He lives in Kansas City, MO.

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