Veteran Chicago rockers Great Deceivers bid adieu with a somber but vital self-titled album | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Veteran Chicago rockers Great Deceivers bid adieu with a somber but vital self-titled album


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It’s difficult to describe the vastness of Chicago indie rock and punk without mentioning Great Deceivers, partly because of the four-piece’s pedigree. Guitarist Russell Harrison and bassist-vocalist Ben Rudolph play in unforgivingly ferocious hardcore unit C.H.E.W., while drummer Seth Engel makes delightfully solemn indie rock as Options and has been part of far too many other groups to list here. In Great Deceivers’ 11 years together, they’ve issued music on several small but vital indie labels, including Florida’s New Granada, Virginia’s Flannel Gurl, and Chicago’s Sooper. The group became so ingrained in the local scene that they were easy to take for granted—I saw them on the lineup of so many Subterranean shows that they seemed as much a part of that club’s character as the door staff. But Great Deceivers have called it a day; singer-guitarist Max Green moved to Boston a little more than a year ago, and with their new self-titled album for LandLand Colportage (a division of Minnesota label LandLand), the band end on a sweet note. The songs on Great Deceivers render their somber melodies with gentleness and precision, and despite the music’s vaguely sad sensibility, the fact that it’s played that way helps it convey a rejuvenating vitality. On the bridge for “Getaway,” the band follow a bit of tender, barely-there guitar strumming with a crushing climax, evoking a glimmer of hope that’s sharpened by all the experiences that brought them to this moment. I like to imagine that everyone in Great Deceivers will carry that optimism with them even when this band is a distant memory.   v

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