David Maxwell lives in in Glasgow, Scotland and has been making music part-time for three decades. He wears his experience on his sleeve after so many years. This is the first solo project he has actively released, but it sounds like his thirtieth. He has been the drummer for many Scottish bands in the past, including Edinburgh band Sans Trauma (he played alongside a member of Arab Strap’s live band). He also fronted post-punk band Dirty Red Turncoats. He is currently rehearsing his newest tracks with a French musician called Audrey Bizouerne and is expecting to be performing many gigs later in the year.
“Bacon and Eggs” is the opener to Maxwell’s latest seven-track EP entitled I Am Dancing Again. It opens with a jumbled mash of occasional cymbal crashes and Maxwell droning the lyric “bacon and eggs” and the general sounds of a band preparing their instruments for a live performance. It’s possibly one of the most intriguing album openers I’ve ever heard, and it’s the reason I love indie music so much. It imbued me with that raw feel which can only be induced by “real” music. Then, suddenly, as the drums crashed and the acoustic guitar pattern hesitantly fumbled back and forth, this clumsy madness was interrupted by a swelling burst of psychedelic piano and synthetic trumpets or flutes, perhaps. The sound is so overwhelming that it’s hard to tell exactly what’s happening. There is the odd pattering of delicate piano and the sound of an egg frying as the track closes. If the joy of eating bacon and eggs could ever be transposed to music form, this would be the end result.
“The Cornelia Parker Time” takes a gentler, well-paced approach and introduces us properly to Maxwell’s smooth, restrained and soft vocals. An acoustic guitar melody accompanies a slowly crashing drum beat as Maxwell sings “Where is my tuba? / It’s with Cornelia.” Synthetic sounds fluctuate back and forth in a joyous manner, imitating flutes and trumpets once more, before the song jumps back into a more melancholic and reflective acoustic melody. It’s hard to tell whether Maxwell is creating a serious or amusing track. I think it’s both. Whatever the case, it sounds great.
‘Hannechan’ is driven by a much more melodic ballad-style guitar picking pattern than the previous tracks. It’s haunting and soothing all at once. Acoustic guitar is layered with reverberating rings of clean electric guitar sound, muted delicately as a punchy, concise drum beat joins the mix. It’s very trippy, Radiohead-esque at moments and folk-esque at others. Maxwell’s vocals take a back burner on this piece, as the instrumental speaks volumes in itself. The occasional spattering of bells and synthetic swells add to this track which is richer in layers than many indie albums are in their entirety.
One final mention goes to “Melt Them Down” which continues the dark, haunting acoustic-guitar-picking style of the track which went before it. Crashing drum cymbals, once again, lead this song absent of any vocals. This is, in my opinion, where Maxwell’s talents truly flourish. He has a knack when it comes to simultaneously soothing and disturbing instrumentals, along with punchy, catchy drumbeats. All in all it’s eclectic, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s hard to find that in independent music.
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