CD Rise Up! [Bobby Conn] [CD] [1 disc]  (CD 1001037),
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Rise Up! [Bobby Conn] [CD] [1 disc] 
1. Twilight of the Empire, The
2. Rise Up
3. Axix '67 (Pt. 2)
4. United Nations
7. Conversation, A
8. Baby Man
9. Baby Man (Refrain)
10. White Bread
12. Ominous Drone
13. Rise Up, Now!
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 306
Andrew Conaway; Phil Bonnet; Bobby Conn
Personnel: Bobby Conn (vocals, guitar, piano, toy piano, synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, drum machine, electronic percussion); Monica BouBou (vocals, electric violin, strings, melodica, background vocals); Jim O'Rourke (guitar, piano, organ, bass synthesizer); Weasel Walter (guitar); Caitlin Strokosh, Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello); Paul Mertens (flute, alto flute, piccolo, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Kyle Bruckmann (oboe); Thymme Jones (trumpet, piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Liam Hayes (electric piano, organ); Sarah Allen (drums, djembe); Anthony Illarde (drums).
Audio Mixers: Jim O'Rourke; Bobby Conn.
Recording information: Truckstop Audio Recording Company, Chicago, IL.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dylan Posa; Thymme Jones; Weasel Walter; Fred Lonberg-Holm; Jim O'Rourke.
Arrangers: Julie Pomerleau; Jim O'Rourke; Bobby Conn.
The album that cemented Bobby Conn's place as an underground rock hero, 1998's Rise Up! was the first of a series of works that skewered America's paranoia, self-absorption, and obsession with wealth and celebrity. Far from a stern-faced polemic, however, Rise Up!'s words and music are nimble and witty; if you're going down, you might as well go down in flames, and Conn's vision of the fall of the American Empire is nothing if not flamboyant. While touring in support of the album, Conn declared himself the Anti-Christ (and wrote much of the album from that perspective) and ministered to his audiences while performing these pointedly subversive songs. Rise Up! crackles with so much energy that it often feels like a live recording of a satirical revue thanks to Jim O'Rourke's sympathetic production; he matches Conn at every turn, whether it's the fire and brimstone jazz of "Passover" or the vacantly breezy bossa nova of "Lullaby," which foreshadows the sound of O'Rourke's own solo albums from a few years later. Like any concept album about America sliding into the trash heap should be, Rise Up! is big and elaborate, beginning with "Rise Up," which moves from power ballad to disco as Conn's vocals grow from a shaky whisper to a righteous howl as he sings "Rise up, it's your only chance!," and ending with "Rise Up, Now!," which starts out numb and ends up being a bittersweet last stand. In between, Conn embodies jaded detachment and revolutionary zeal, touching on slinky funk ("Axis '67, Pt. 2") and privileged new wave ("Baby Man") in the process. "United Nations" and "White Bread"'s searing glam-punk are both standouts, as is the epic "California," which boasts woozy horns that are genuinely disturbing. All of these songs are cloaked in artwork that renders the apocalypse fit for a van mural, the perfect encapsulation of Rise Up!'s indulgence and immediacy. Bursting with sounds and ideas that are more relevant than ever, this is some of the most vivid work from one of the underground's most visionary talents. [Fire Records reissued Rise Up! in 2011 with demo versions of "Axis 67" and "California," coinciding with Conn's tour performing the album in its entirety.]
~ Heather Phares
Mojo (Publisher) (p.121) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t sounds as inspired and cracked as ever."
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Atavistic Records 306
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