SELF-EVIDENT — We Built a Fortress on Short Notice
Self-Evident’s sixth full-length album opens with “Rumors,” a bracing noisepop gem featuring earnest vocals reminiscent of mid-1990s Fugazi and Jawbreaker, a melodic sound that combines the groove of Joy Division and the jazz touches of the Minutemen. Which also sums up my difficulty with this CD: It sounds too familiar, as if the listener is zig-zagging across the indie-rock map over the course of the past 15 years. The loud-quiet one-two punch was fresh in 1993. The spare combination of electric guitar, bass and drums seemed counterintuitive in 1984. The album rallies on “In Cowardice” with singer Conrad Mach’s exhortation: “Get up, this isn’t over/ Well, this is happening right.” It surges into a math-rock gallop on the next track, “Not Literally,” and intermittently drops down into a meditative groove. “I know, I know, I know, we’ve been over this before.” So we have.