My Dad Is Dead | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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My Dad Is Dead


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Under one of the starkest monikers in rock, Mark Edwards has been making bracing, powerful music for almost a decade, yet even modest fame and fortune have eluded the Cleveland native. Since MDID's earliest records were distinguished by dark, droning music, despondent, emotionally naked lyrics, and Edwards's sepulchral baritone, which sounds uncannily like that of the late Ian Curtis, many mistakenly wrote off the band as Joy Division wanna-bes. However, The Taller You Are, the Shorter You Get, an astoundingly well-crafted and intense 1989 double album encompassing acoustic folk, lilting pop, and pummeling guitar rock, established Edwards as a multifaceted songwriter whose work was anything but derivative. Chopping Down the Family Tree (1991), a blend of brutal hard rock and gently melodic ballads, was even more distinctive, while 1993's Out of Sight, Out of Mind delivered a caustic dose of distorted guitar wailing and dour ruminations. MDID's new release For Richer, for Poorer (Emperor Jones/Trance) is Edwards's catchiest, brightest record, filled with tough, hook-filled tunes. Sometimes soaring with hope, sometimes sizzling with anger, songs like "Evolution," "Heirloom," and "I Had a Dream" boast striking melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and lithe playing. Though Edwards's voice has never been particularly strong or graceful, it compensates with an appealing earnestness. The darkness that pervaded the early records hasn't completely disappeared, but Edwards has learned that contrast can be more effective than overkill. Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600.

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