Saturday 29 December 2012

Maxwell Demon - Strange Beings

Album review by

And so the flood of bedroom singer/songwriter/producers continues. Some may argue this is a bad thing; any half-baked, badly written, even more badly recorded junk can be made cheaply, easily and uploaded on to the internet for anyone with a phone line to hear the very same day. Personally I'm all for it. Sure, you get loads of crap flooding the market but music should be available to anyone, and the more people we can get laying down their ideas the more good music we're likely to find. Imagine if we'd had this technology in the 1960s, or even the 1920s? It makes you wonder what amazing talents have slipped through the net, with maybe only themselves and a few friends ever hearing the amazing songs they created.

This album from New York's Maxwell Demon has all the hallmarks of a home-recording and on the strength of this release he's unlikely to be topping the charts any time soon. That said, 'Strange Beings' has some decent tracks on it and shows a willingness to experiment and embrace different sounds. All of this is part of the creative process. Do you think The Rolling Stones' initial ideas and demo recordings were all as good as 'Paint It Black' or Gimmie Shelter'? No, they, like everyone else, would have started out as a good little band before the training paid off and they were match-fit world-beaters. 'Strange Beings' sounds like the start of something, not the finished article.

Clearly the guy can write songs, some of them very good, and clearly he has plenty of ideas about different techniques and effects that could be used. So if we take this album as a selection of demos, which is essentially what it is, you begin to see the potential here. Excellent final track 'Worthless' could be likened to Granddaddy, 'Suffer & Burn' is misty dreampop, there are hints of Galaxie 500 to songs like 'June'. 'Kill//Love' pushes electronics ahead of the distant vocal. Some moments would benefit the production of a proper studio or a more experienced head, although the haziness and impurities do add a subtle charm. So 'Strange Beings' won't win any awards but there's plenty here to win a few fans for sure. As stepping stones go, this is enough to get things rolling.

Maxwell Demon's website

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