Raise High the Roof Beam, Soft Speaker, Black Fortys | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Raise High the Roof Beam, Soft Speaker, Black Fortys 

When: Mon., Dec. 29, 9 p.m. 2008
These locals, who take their name from the title of a 1963 J.D. Salinger book, refine “bittersweet” to an art form. They do nifty things with banjo, ukulele, and mandolin, but in the context of their anthemic, romantic pop, those instruments don’t sound folksy so much as otherworldly—through the cracks in music that’s otherwise very indie-kid-next-door, with its heart on its sleeve and its hat in its hand, they provide a glimpse of a numinous fairyland. RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM have a way with a chorus, and use it to almost monotonous effect on their self-released EP, The Buildup—fortunately they also have a way with a hook, so they never go past that “almost.” The thrilling ache of “Break My Heart in Two” and the whiff of reverence in “Downtown Towers” stay intact, shimmering like a diamond-dusted sidewalk. —Monica Kendrick

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