Refrigerator

Refrigerator

Refrigerator

Bottles of Make Up

Shrimper

Allen and Dennis Callaci, brothers and the mainstays of Refrigerator, have been making unassuming yet heartfelt albums for the better part of a decade, to the general deference of the American indie scene. Their finest hour has still been their brilliant opening salvo, 1995’s How I Continue Dreaming, but the Callacis and their many friends and collaborators have been releasing strong collections of songs, albeit sporadically, each with its own inherent charms and a winsomeness that the feedback and reverb that occasionally creeps into their sound can’t hide.

The latest album, Bottles of Make Up, is perhaps their most stripped-down effort to date. Recorded over the course of a weekend at Dennis’ home, the intimate, hazy-sounding recording is a close cousin to a classic album that was also recorded quickly and filled with empty space (not to mention being spearheaded by a pair of brothers) — Young Marble Giants’ masterful Colossal Youth.

Whereas the YMG album bristles with the tension of English post-punk, Bottles is a distinctly American work, with shuffling country and folk traditionalism coursing through many of the songs here. It lends the album a friendly, lackadaisical feel amplified by the brothers’ shaky harmonies and the occasional flubbed note or bad tuning.

As wonderful as the songs featuring the full band are — especially the goofy “Cigarettes & Perfume” and the sorrowful dirge “Walking Through Walls” — the most affecting songs are those that are stripped down to the barest elements, which allow the emotion of Dennis’ lyrics to shine through. With a simple piano line (courtesy of friend and fan Franklin Bruno), the track “From the End of the World to Your Town” needs a mere two minutes to wrench your soul with emotion as Dennis sings of a lonely, heartbroken stroll down an empty street. As well, the lo-fi warmth of the recording does everything to amplify the song’s emotions.

Unlike many of the albums being released these days cluttered with half-formed, ill-fitting songs and ideas, Bottles is a short, sweet, fully realized piece of work from a band that specializes in just that. At a mere 31 minutes in length, it is a record that quickly and quietly slips by, humming in the background, and over before you know it. But it is one that will no doubt haunt you and have you hitting the play button on your CD player or computer again and again.

Shrimper/Midheaven Distro: www.midheaven.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives