8/10 Clinton Staff review, 30 November 2016
Maggie 8 are certainly a perky bunch. First thing you need to know is that they pretty much invented their own genre with their (h)indie-folk crossover which they have spent time over numerous years tweaking. Second thing fact fans is that they contain a former Hood in boyish guitarist Mark Wright. This latest album begins as their most relentlessly upbeat yet and consists of several steam-driven indie tunes which use less of the previous Bollywood influences and more of a girl-fronted indie-pop directness. The threat of the Smiths is in much evidence on ‘Best Club’ in which singer Nivedita Pisharoty comes across as a female ying to Morrissey’s yang over a slab of catchy discofied indie. The band are best though when they create their giddy eastern-influenced sample pop as on ‘Oh and Sigh’ a quite infectious three minute burst which could cheer you up on the most miserable of days yet has the plaintive slightly melancholic undertones that make pop great.
Following on from their excellent ‘Connected‘ 7" this is a much more straightforward Maggie8 than the sometimes complex tunesmiths of yore and this pays plenty of dividends in the first half where ‘Are You Listening’ in particular recalls the hi-energy skewed pop of the Wolfhounds. The second half of the album is reserved for slower moodier pieces. Much of it -especially ‘Billie Ray’ -has in evidence the twisting lyrical melancholy of ‘Two Dancers’ era Wild Beasts and closer ‘Where Did You Go’ showcases Niv’s marvellously smooth vocals above tangles of delicious Johnny Marr-like guitar patterns.
Maggie 8 quite often create that sometimes rarest of things - good infectious indie-pop but on the latter half of the album they learns to embrace a kind of shimmering melancholic reflection that is well worth delving into.
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