The Louisiana band Maintenance started out in the spring of 2016. Since then, they have released a self-titled EP and two singles. Following up those efforts is their sophomore release Grapefruit Tree – an interesting combination of snowstorms, parking lots, Mexican restaurants and of course, grapefruit trees. Recorded in four separate studios in the Acadiana region of Louisiana, the band used, quite naturally, four separate recording processes. With acoustic guitars, synths, keyboards, bass and drums, the band describes Grapefruit Tree as a “fuzzy delight” which “utilizes textures and tube amps to express simple songwriting.”
The opener “The Devil Knows” begins with a driving beat and textures of mysterious and haunting sounds from the keyboards. Bringing elements of alternative indie pop to the fold and other musical influences, I could already tell this band has got the goods. A shaker percussion sound bleeds into “Maria 2.5” – a tune that features more synths and a jumpy, popish beat. The melody on the keys reminds me of the new wave styles from the early ‘80s. “Synchronized Swimming Team” feels powerful and has a crowd-pleasing, anthem quality to it. But there’s anxious tension, too.
“Grapefruit Toothpaste” has a balance of moodiness and a comical, sing-along nature to it. The guitar chords played reminded me of a Meat Puppets song for some reason. “Forward Green” features distortion on vocals and guitars and an all-around explosive and neurotic sound. The drumming goes off into a wild tangent, like thrash punk, as the lyrics sound like they are on a loop. Midway, the tune gets really good as the keys and drums keep the same beat and then things quiet down and get really psychedelic. The next number is “1:17” and it literally is that long in duration. The melody is only two chords and overall it’s a pretty spaced-out song. “Colored Neon” offers a happier vibe, bouncier rhythm and some crazy creativity. I got into the echoing vocals, solo break midway through, drums and sythns. There’s just so many good things going on in this tune, I recommend listening. “JRIA” ends the album with a lively, rocking beat, and more attitude. The synths give this last one a nice, haunting ending.
Some other bands that came to mind as I finished listening were Alt-J, Pixies and Arcade Fire among others. This Louisiana quartet has a truly unique sound and style and at times it was hard to believe that so many sounds and textures were coming from just four people. (Although, I think they had help from backup singers). It was also hard to pin them down to any one genre or artist. But in the end, these qualities are the band’s greatest strengths.
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