La Makita Soma Brighton Park

Chicago’s La Makita Soma faces a little bit of a problem, thanks to their hometown. There is, of course, the inevitable comparison to Tortoise, because of not only the shared geography but because of the similar meandering instrumental style that never travels from A to B by the most direct route. But La Makita Soma doesn’t quite fall into the fabled Chicago template, because they don’t quite commit to so many different styles that they end up sounding almost original; almost. For every post-rock or jazz moment there’s a touch of psychedelia or world beat lurking, and the whole thing hints at Stereolab or Tristeza as often as the Chicago crowd. But every so often (normally about five minutes into a track) everything gets funkier and ends up losing the atmosphere that they’ve created up until then. It feels like some of those longer tracks are simply that way because the band couldn’t think of a way to end it all sooner, instead of having something terribly valuable to say. Some songs overstay their welcome (with the 11-minute "The Makita Five” immediately jumping to mind), while the collaboration with Hi-Fidel ("Spaceship”) adds a needed extra dimension to the material. Brighton Park is an exhausting album that never really lives up to the potential that appears from time to time. Still, there are some wonderful moments, but there’s a very good chance they could get lost amongst the more average tracks that outnumber them. (Some Odd Pilot)