I always appreciate albums that when you listen to them you can close your eyes and can see the band performing live in a room. There’s something about live takes and organic instrumentation that creates a human quality that conveys the emotions the artist was feeling while they were recording. When I listened to the new album entitled Wings by Max Campbell these were the qualities that were immediately apparent. Max Campbell hails from Montana and makes pop music that is inspired by folk and “indie” rock. Her songs are simple and contain little more than fuzzed out electric guitars, bass and drums and are comparable to Waxahatchee’s songs. Nothing wrong with that in fact any more instrumentation and it would cover up Campbell’s original sounding voice. This was definitely the biggest draw for me as she has this confidence in her voice that is powerful and doesn't sound overly feminine or cute. There is a quality that is appealing to it and is a bit hard to put your finger on. On the six songs the structure and formula rarely deviates but as the saying goes “if it ain't broke don't fix it.”
The album opens up with one of the highlights on the album called “Because of You.” The song’s drumbeat (that was played with brushes) and guitar melodies alone will make you want to dance but her vocal performance is really the thing that matters here and makes the song better than your average bear. She delivers lines like “Because of you I'm here singing” and “Because of you I'm alright” with just enough tact and restraint. She doesn't overdo it which is a trap a lot of other singer/songwriters types fall into. “City Girl” had a 90’s type feel to it while “Go” was the most energetic song so far. Another highlight of the album was “January Blues.” In addition to another nice vocal performance I was really digging the guitar picking on the song. It sounded great against the slight fuzz in the background. In "Ledge" a poppy verse leads into a groove-based chorus that provides a nice contrast to a song that would otherwise have been a bit boring as Campbell sings, "Let's go back to that ledge, take me hand, we can fly." "Why Her" feels like a lyrical part two to "Go", a song about watching the one you love with someone else. Campbell's delivery is so genuine, you almost worry that she's truly crying as she sings. The album closes with “Why Her,” which had its moments but it wasn't my favorite song on the album. Overall, Wings is a pretty solid album.
There are definitely some areas such her vocal delivery (most of the time she’s great but occasionally she falls flat) that can be improved upon if she wants to get in the big leagues but they are rather minor and I have little doubt that if she keeps at it she can iron these things out. She may a nice future ahead of her so go ahead and support Max Campbell.
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