My first introduction to Maybeshewill was via a sampler that came attached to a Rock Sound magazine. I had ripped the CD to my family’s computer before quickly renaming the song, originally titled “The Paris Hilton Sex Tape”. The song had nothing to do with a hotel heiress or any publicity stunt of hers (as far as I’m aware), but I certainly wasn’t going to risk my parents discovering a file with a name like that on our computer.
Despite the songs naughty name, I loved everything about it. A perfect blend of live instrumentation and electronica with dynamics that made the track stand above bland offerings of similar bands like Explosions in the Sky. This was not a song intended to be background noise that adds to the atmosphere, this song demanded your attention.
That song was from the band’s debut, Not for Want of Trying. Six years later I find myself excitedly ripping open the bands fourth studio release, Fair Youth and dropping a needle onto the record to see how it compares.
Uplifting is the word that jumps to mind when I try to describe Fair Youth. The reason for this could be that the guitars have taken a back seat to the keys. Don’t worry, the guitars aren’t absent – riffing and rocking remains present- but the crunching distortion has been surpassed by soaring swells and harmonies.
It leaves me feeling slightly uneasy when a band I adore begins to “mature”, but in this case I’m able to cope with change. All things mellow with age, but this is offset by the fact that the band’s collective talent has grown. Maybeshewill have managed to go bigger without losing their indie credentials (the record was shipped to me from the guitarists’ spare room in Leicester).
Everything sounds more professional. Electronic elements are more prominent now, but the sampling that stood out on previous albums is missing. I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing, because the sampling sometimes detracted from old songs. The production has noticeably improved and the record sounds grander with the addition of brass and strings section. It’s the subtle touches that make the difference, like an angelic choir adding harmony to the final track.
Fair Youth is a brighter, happier sounding record from Maybeshewill. The album sounds like hope and aspirations and kittens. It balances well on the instrumental spectrum, melodic enough to sit in the background, but still engaging enough to be a satisfying listen. This is one of the times I’m happy to say growth and change of direction for a band can be a good thing.
It is hard to keep abreast of what is worth listening to in the rapidly growing genre of instrumental music. Maybeshewill is one of the bands worth listening to.