Faulknerian Chamber-Pop from The Restoration
There are ambitious bands out there, that make sprawling, ambitious albums, and then there are bands like The Restoration, who go above and beyond simple ambition into something approximating obsession. The South Carolina band’s debut album Constance is an unflinching piece of historical fiction that examines race and class in the south from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, where bandleader and principal songwriter Daniel Machado has gone the Faulkner route and fictionalized his own hometown of Lexington, the home of titular character Constance Vale. The story line concerns an interracial romance and the resulting son that thematically explores issues of biblical depth such as morality, community, racism, and more, and the album is available in a “compendium” that includes a book with maps, photos, and short stories relating to the music.
In concert, the band dresses in period garb, as seen on the album cover above; hearing them play string band style music in indie-rock earnestness is enough to transport one’s ears, at least, back to the time of the story.
Curious? Here are some links to coverage of their recent theatrical stage presentation of the new album:
The album opens with a newly composed shape note hymn written especially for the story; Machado enlisted a Georgia shape-note ensemble to perform it, as documented in this clip:
To listen to the full album: