6 September 2014

Maybeshewill - Fair Youth


It may not come as a surprise, but I have a little thing for instrumental bands with a Post Rock vibe (even if they do not want to be associated with that sound).  Formed in 2005, Maybeshewill have been wooing audiences with their melodic and expansive sounds to folk all around the world. The ethos of the band is to be as self sufficient as possible, they have their own label set up called Robot Needs Home (cleverly linked) which is used to help similar artists gain exposure (the band themselves are currently on Superball Music for their own releases, but still manage themselves and sort out their own tours).  It is great to see that the DIY ethics of the band are paying off as they are getting on some fantastic tours and making a great name for themselves.  The record I will be looking at here is their latest release and is their fourth in total.  I saw them when they last played Trillians in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2012, they did not disappoint; but let’s see how the album plays out.

Starting with introduction track "..." which is just fifty plus seconds of build, the band jump into the first proper track of the album called "In Amber".  You are thrown into a sonic wall of sound that will have a truly uplifting effect on the most musically soulless in the world.  It follows the identity that has been Maybeshewill's musical signature to the finest point, but whilst it is not changing the world it is just as uplifting as early anthems as "Not For Want Of Trying" and "Critical Distance".  It has a part in the middle where you would hold your breath before you get to the second half of the song and when they get to that point, they unleash a wonderful piece of music that will not come as a surprise to fans of this band at all.  Next track "You And Me And Everything In Between" which continues the dynamic sound which has been laid out by the first song.  It feels like the band has been inspired by Anathema on this track as it feels very reminiscent of their sound on 'Weather Systems'.  The building of sections and gentle pauses are well placed and the track goes by quiet smoothly.  Following on is the title track "Fair Youth" and what I am noticing more and more on the album is that whilst the sound of the band has not really changed, the amount of instruments being used has increased.  You have rich string sections laid on the first few numbers and a brass section appears on "Fair Youth", it is very refreshing to hear the additions to the sound.  Also, the track is another building block towards an euphoric finish.

"All Things Transient" is the fifth song on the album; this song takes a different approach to the work that has gone on before, but only slightly.  Whilst the drumming and bass playing is of the usual speed, the keyboards and guitars are quieter in comparison.  They is the usual building up to a peak, coming back down and then rebuilding towards another peak and when they get to this peak the effect peddles of the band are brought out and the sonic sound is flowing like a small tsunami.  "Sanctuary" does a similar sort of job, with a more free flowing movement from the guitars in the most part until you get to the second bridge when they let loose again.  It is the contrasts of different shades of light that makes the song move along.  "Asiatic" continues this quieter part of the album; it does not change the pace to any real degree, but it doesn't rely too heavily on the effects peddles either.  It seems to drift by at a pleasant pace and is not a bad song.  However the momentum of the opening of the album has been drained by this section, as beautiful as it is.

"Waking Life" is aptly titled as it feels as if the band is waking up slightly at this point.  It starts with a ball of energy that really should take it through to the end of the song, but around the two minute mark it goes slow again.  There is another speeding peak, but like a dream it ends up with that slow and peaceful ending that can sometimes be remembered from a dream.  "Permanence" is the ninth track and the band are still working their collective way towards the perfect peak, with a slow and passionate number that keeps on going without really dropping the energy it is one of the more consistent numbers of the album. "In The Blind" is the penultimate song of the album; it has all the wonderful sections that make this band what it is, all wrapped up in one tight little bow.  It is a great moment of joy and release towards the end of the album which brings another source of uplifting euphoria.  Ending the album is "Volga" and once more the band try to the gentle approach.  It is does what all the more epic and titanic songs of the album do, but with a subtleness that was not apparent on the middle section of the album.

Overall with this album, it can be thought of in two half; the beginning and the end are up to the usual high standard which you expect from the band and the last two songs are really interesting.  The middle section of this album though, that is not as good if I am honest.  It kills off the momentum of the album far too much and that does affect the total feel of the record.  I still think that they will one day release an album that makes every hair on your body stand on end, they will release a world beater and when they do, it will be glorious.  At the moment they have released another very good record, not a great one but another fine addition to their catalogue.  Also, there live shows will be as impressive as ever with the addition of those extra tracks.

7.5 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Maybeshewill website here, it also have a store page where you can buy the album directly from the band

Here is a link to the band's label (long story, sort of explained on the Wikipedia page about the band) - Robot Needs Home

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For our Deezer users, here is a link for you to hear the album

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