The Make Three Weaves Nostalgic and Gritty Guitar-Rock Magic, Uniting NJ Indie Rock Veterans The Make Three
Label: Mint 400 Records
Reviewed by Sam Lowry

In the vibrant realm of Punky Indie guitar-rock, The Make Three enthralls audiences with their captivating harmonies, crafting a nostalgia-infused journey that leaves an indelible mark

The Make Three brings together members of two long standing New Jersey bands, featuring Jerry Lardieri of The Brixton Riot and Peter Horvath and Chris Ryan, both of whom played in Horvath's Anderson Council for over a decade. While each member's primary projects remain active and have distinct (albeit similar) styles, "You, Me & The Make Three," manages to combine a bit of each while still venturing into new directions.

The first real departure comes with the opening swell of "Against The Tide," built on a wall of fuzz that is reminiscent of Yuck's debut album while Lardieri pleads that he's "dying inside" - it's a fairly personal and emotional plea, one of many that appear throughout the record. Another standout moment comes on "Black Cloud". Built on layers of fuzzed out guitars, it's a fairly obvious nod to J. Mascis and Dinosaur Jr., elevated to new heights by Horvath's harmony vocal line.

The Make Three was originally conceived as a side project that focused on covering new wave and punk classics by bands like The Cure and The Replacements - a tradition that Horvath and Lardieri continue in their acoustic duo The Snark Twins. While original music was never part of the plan, things took a different turn after the pandemic, when Lardieri invited his friends to collaborate on a new set of songs he wrote after demoing out tracks for the next Brixton Riot record. Budget constraints forced the trio to produce the album at home, recording the songs in a beach house on the Jersey Shore the week after Christmas. Despite the DIY approach, the album has a surprisingly polished sound, more than you'd expect from an album made at home. The fact that it never quite reaches the fidelity of a full studio production does nothing to deter its appeal.

"You, Me & The Make Three" never strays far from the boundaries of the never-quite-definable power pop genre, but there are some interesting detours along the way. "Pay No Mind" and "Local Scene" recall early 2000's Spoon with a dash of Elvis Costello's influence (not surprising given Britt Daniel's affinity for Declan Macmanus' songwriting). "Parts Unknown" adopts a slow, woozy quality that flirts with elements of shoegaze while evoking echoes of Chris Bell's songwriting. One of the album's most striking surprises comes in "Hurry Up and Wait," a slow-burning track that erupts into a wall of distortion. Ryan and Horvath's exceptional rhythm work propels the song with authority, as it does throughout the course of the entire album.

Despite its DIY origins, the album boasts a well-crafted and diverse collection of songs, with each band member bringing their unique influences and styles to the table. Fans of The Brixton Riot and The Anderson Council will find a lot to enjoy here, as will anyone who enjoys a good guitar-rock record and longs for the sounds of the 90s.

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