Here for a moment… A Tribute To Maybeshewill


Leicester post-rockers Maybeshewill just played their last ever show at KOKO in London, supported by worriedaboutsatan and You Slut! [who reformed especially for the show].

I couldn’t make it. Sadly that means I will never see them play live. It’s understandable, seeing as I live on the opposite side of the world. I honestly think that I will miss the band though.

Like I mentioned in my review of their final albumI discovered Maybeshewill through a sampler attached to Rock Sound magazine. The song had a risqué title, and being a teenage boy, I was terrified that my parents would stumble upon the song that I had ripped to the family computer. I wonder what would have been worse – my mum finding a file named “The Paris Hilton Sex Tape”, or the also rudely named “C.N.T.R.C.K.T” from the same album?

I think Maybeshewill were the band that I joined Bandcamp for, so that I could purchase their live album Live At The Y Theatre. It included a link to download the video of the show, but I never actually downloaded it because the file size was 2 gigabytes, and my bloody flatmates always used up the internet bandwidth allowance, meaning that the download was nigh on impossible on the capped speeds once we had exceeded our limits. I’ll upgrade to unlimited internet someday…

As well as loving the band for their music, I also admire them for their DIY ethic. They started their own record label/collective, Robot Needs Home, to launch their own debut EP. I don’t think they ever anticipated growing to the size they are now.

This blogpost from guitarist John Helps aligned so well with my ideals about authenticity, resourcefulness and community. In the liner notes of Not For Want Of Trying they write “this record was performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Maybeshewill at various locations throughout 2007. It cost us nothing. DIY FTW”. They proceed to thank friends and family who helped them with the process, stating that “we owe more to these people than we owe to the bank”, and “this record is as much yours as it is ours”. There seems to be more integrity in any artistic project when it is independently run, because the artist needn’t compromise their values to appease any external figures. I try to run my blog by those principles, and consider my work a success, despite never having spent any money on it.

The band’s final album, Fair Youth, was released just as I started this blog. I enthusiastically reviewed it, and although it was not my best piece of writing (being among my first), it taught me a lot about what it takes to write for a music blog (including don’t let your dad leave comments that people will laugh about on the internet!). I stand by what I wrote back then – it is a good album, and one the band can be proud to leave as a parting gift.

Maybeshewill will always be important to me. They were one of the bands that started me on a journey of discovering post-rock. They showed me that music can be exciting without vocals. They combined electronica, samples and brilliant musicianship. They made brilliant music using an indie model.

To quote one of their song titles : “Our History Will Be What We Make of It”. Maybeshewill made a legacy worth remembering

Joseph James

Album Review: Maybeshewill – Fair Youth

Maybeshewill Fair Youth vinyl record album cover

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.


Joseph James