Maff's self-titled album Maff is magical and ethereal. The air is filled with a shower of electric noises that echo out into the swirling space that is song. From the drums to the bass to the guitar, they all bellow out without constriction into this space that creates a magical fantastical feeling within. Lyrics sound similar to Pixies. I get a punk feel but in the same way as the Pixies, where it is gorgeous music that has a soul hitting sound due to its utter and sheer beauty.
The first song “Walking On Fire, speaks just that in the lyrics. I am sure we can all imagine that walking on fire would be a transcendental experience. This out of body song could get you through such physical pain. Moving along to the song “You.” Continuing the trend of just having the electric guitar not exactly offer any succinct strumming, but rather kind of just echoing and filling the space of the song giving it a fuzzy broken television sound. The humdrum of the electric guitar fission is comforting. There is no empty space in any of these songs.
Drums are more in the backdrop alongside the singer. Guitars are in front. A lot of distortion in this track fueling more of that "I don't give a damn" punk feeling. Just when you don't think it could get more full it breaks open again and again into a more highly charged piece. I get images of teenage angst with this music mostly due to its rebellious feeling. It feels like something has been kept inside all of this time, emotion or self-expression, and it is finally just breaking out. There is a general sense of freedom that can be felt with this album. The flowery blooming guitar that is layered on top of the electric guitar is what keeps the sound dance-y and magical with its easy going "oh well" message.
“Linger Around” moves more into a symphony of voices and sounds giving it more amplitude. The singer’s voice is simple and doesn't really explore his vocal range. It is one of those talk-singing experiences. The voices sound angelic and shiny. This album sounds more like a crew or crowd than the distinct musicians within it. I cannot feel a lot of ego in this band. The next song “Million Year Picnic” keeps with the overall sound of this album. All of the songs seem quite continuous. There is not a lot of difference between their sound and they really do mesh together quite well. There are subtle octave variations but overall this seems like one long song. I like that but perhaps also the band could step outside of their comfort zone a bit to try different facets.
For now, they have a good sound and it is working for them. I would say this album is a hybrid of styles and reminds me of the early Flaming Lips and Yo La Tengo with more shoegaze tendencies. Maff's voice reminds me of that whiny high-pitched Flaming Lips feel that I sincerely adore. I like music such as this where it just fills every molecule of space and doesn't give the listener a chance to fall down. There is only build ups and breakthroughs, not so much slowing down and breakdowns. It is all kept high up spinning in space. You could mosh to this music, or just sway around and they would be both equally appropriate. The songs give you the option of following the harder hitting aspect, or the more fluffy marshmallow facets.
All in all I wouldn't miss out on this album. It is a revival of that era of Yo La Tengo, Pixies and a surplus of early nineties shoegaze acts. All of those musical pinings that we love so much can be felt within this piece. It has the bells and whistles and the semi-hard edge that makes it feel punk-y and rebellious, but simultaneously beautiful and soothing. It is a special balance that they have mastered. There is not too much room for thinking or trying to wrap your head around the sound with its consistent heartbeat like comfort. It doesn't seek to throw its listener off with some weird indigestible sound that is difficult to understand. It is all quite familiar and fills me up with a warm nebulous pastel pink, blue dotted with sparkling stars. I love it. Especially great for long bus rides in other countries with your headphones on while watching out the window. Brings feelings of nostalgia and gratitude and warmth.
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