Not for Want of Trying

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Following on from their debut EP, released on their own Robot Needs Home label, Leicester-based instrumental post-rock quartet Maybeshewill give us their debut full-length, Not for Want of Trying. It is clear that Maybeshewill draw influence from acts such as Sigur Rós and Mogwai; however, the band has certainly cemented its own stamp upon the "post" genres -- not just the job of "look what influences us" but more of a "throw all influences into the pot, stir until we have a brand-new yet familiar concoction ready to serve up." Another point is that the group seems to have abandoned the typically long song duration of most post-rock tracks, which are commonly employed for building up layers of emotion, and has instead opted for song lengths that never exceed five minutes. That being said, Maybeshewill have definitely extracted some ethereal sounds from the "post" genres -- particularly evident in the album's intro, a celestial piece combining minor chords, scratchy beats, and buried, high-end fuzz, then fading in with the album proper -- a heavy, airtight, warm, and resonant beast that marries its ethereal elements with percussion-heavy, downtuned riff-laden alternative rock most evident in bands like ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Such an amalgamation is best found in songs with ridiculous titles such as "The Paris Hilton Sex Tape" and "We Called for an Ambulance But a Fire Engine Came." Both tracks launch themselves full-throttle with overdriven basslines, pummeling drum work, and distorted riffs cutting through the mix before simmering down and ushering in the calm after the storm. An example of this is on "...But a Fire Engine Came." After the audio onslaught, around the one-minute mark the track segues into rainy-day piano melodies before building back up with harsh, static percussion stabbing away amongst some palm-muted riffs before the rest of the ensemble kicks in with nicely equalized snare and more overdriven bass. However, the record's shining moment arrives with the track "He Films the Clouds, Pt. 2." Beginning with solemn arpeggiated piano chords and warm bursts of synth, it is a song that envelops you, certainly one that holds your attention throughout due to its ever-changing nature. It's a song that seems perfect for a family time-lapse video. The track then seemingly transforms into one lone voice singing a repetitive refrain, before erupting into a full-fledged choir amongst glitchy and swimming atmospherics. Another nice moment is the title track, featuring a sample of the infamous Howard Beale rant from the satirical movie Network, employed effectively within the track -- treated as an instrument itself, the sound of Beale's speech rises to the boiling point just as the mix rises to its inevitable crescendo. Not for Want of Trying is an interesting album, a record that is unafraid to nod toward some of its most obvious influences, baring them amongst its bones whilst dressing its own skeleton with a new kind of skin -- something that's fresh, bold, and original.

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