MakeWar - A Paradoxical Theory of Change

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For most bands, making music is therapy. It’s a cliché, but clichés are clichés for a reason—because they’re usually true. It’s fair to say that that was the same for MakeWar, too. Formed out of the ashes of frontman Jose Prieto’s solo endeavor, Sad And French, the Brooklyn trio—completed by bassist Edwin Santacruz, and new drummer Alejandro Serritiello—have always worn their hearts on their sleeves. Heartbreak, despair, and alcohol have long been at the center of those struggles, and the songs themselves are a way to push through all of that. Whether it was 2015’s eponymous record—full band reinventions and re-recordings of Sad And French songs—2016’s first album proper, Developing A Theory Of Integrity, or 2019’s Get It TogetherMakeWar’s albums have all been intensely cathartic affairs that bristle with the promise and the terror of the human experience. In other words: they’re therapy. It still sounds like that’s the case on A Paradoxical Theory Of Change. Perhaps more than ever, in fact. But it’s not. Because for the last three years or so, Prieto has been undergoing actual therapy—which is where a lot of the ideas on the record stem from. “Developing A Theory Of Integrity was very party-involved,” he explains. “We made it when we were very young and it’s all about drinking your problems away. But A Paradoxical Theory Of Change talks about how if you really want or need change in your life, instead of fighting or pushing against whatever it is that you’re feeling, you should absorb it, accept it and let it be. It’s there for a reason, and once you acknowledge that you’re living with this problem, you can actually mold it. You have to let it be and not fuck with it so you can finally find change.”

In many ways, that’s the total opposite of MakeWar’s initial purpose. As the name suggests, the band was started as a way for Prieto to, as he puts it, “literally fight all these problems that I had in my head, all this depression and anxiety.” MakeWar was, he says, a way for him to push all that out. Now, though, he’s going about it in a very different way. “It’s still a war and a fight,” he clarifies, “but I’m being more intelligent in terms of how to do it. I’m still struggling, as you can hear on the record, but I’ve found the key to battling it.” That much is clear from the moment opener “Magic Worlds” kicks the record off. It begins almost tentatively, almost as if the song is giving the anxieties and traumas that inspired it room to breathe for a bit, to makes themselves known before the band pushes back. When they do, it’s with a formidable statement of intent, of acceptance, of action through temporary inaction. ‘It’s been a long time since the last time I felt like this,’ sings Prieto. ‘I’m not crazy, it’s the sequel of all my fears/Sooner or later, I might have to step aside/And try to relearn how to live on with my life.’ That’s exactly what the rest of the song—and the eleven that follow it—do. They don’t just forge a new path forward, but also drag the past (and all of its mistakes) into the present to be dealt with, too. As such, there’s a great deal of self-reflection, of existential reconciliation, of using that key to lock or unlock whatever doors are necessary to move forward. As Prieto sings at the end of that first track: ‘I can’t remember the last time/I could just get on with my life.’ (Continue reading full Bio on DISCO)


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Explicit Tracks
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