Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Maudlin : s/t

It takes Atlanta about six years to catch up with whatever is going in in New York and Los Angeles. To their credit they have enough Halloween in their bass sound to make songs like "A Nail Under the Grain" work. The production is also very true to the sound they are going for.  Their singer Jessica Knight is pretty convincing, walking the line between punk and 80's goth sound that obviously hails from Siouxsie. She is not just a Siouxise imitator which on this bandwagon is a rare exception, so she gets points for that. There is a more rock feel to "Twist of the Knife" that give the song some drive, but the murky sound that gives this band some of their character plays against them here, and keeps this from sounding as tense and urgent as it could. A little more form and function in the melodies could also help strengthen their sound. When it comes to bands like this now I am in an awkward spot of having already heard Arctic Flowers and Zola Jesus, so the excitement of this resurgence of music that I have already been listening to for over twenty years wanes a little. I can say I prefer the first three songs more than when they descend into a more punk sound for "Inside".  Her vocals take on a more spoken tone, which at least is a change. The drummer is on the good side of decent and the bass player is their glue. Normally I am more taken by the guitar tones of band's like this but that is actually this band's weak link. The rawer mix finds the guitar having a more metallic sound, that is somewhat tinny. There is a more pained squeal in the tone of say Daniel Ash and I am just not feeling it here. As a song I would say that "Crooked" is better than "Inside", I think some of this is the fact the vocals have more purpose. I'll round this one up to a 7 as it captures a cool vibe, there are plenty of things that can be ironed out, it pays tribute to a time period and culture very near and dear to my little black heart so that makes me a little generous in that regard, but at the same time I've been there done that and got the t-shirt so the bar is raised pretty high. They don't have much in terms of competition with this kind of thing as the other so called "goth" or "death rock" bands are hold overs from back in the day lucky enough for the cycle of hip to spin back around.

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