Maia are a forward thinking folk band that do very nicely thank you on the English folk scene. They marry traditional folk arrangements with more modern production techniques and unique songwriting. They are produced by Leeds sonic whizzkid Choque Hosein who teases out of them intense sci fi folk and whimsical off kilter psychedelic compositions.
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Will you just look at the sleeve. It's incredible. It's presented in a big cardboard fold out thing and on the front the band logo is stuck on in felt. It's beautifully done and shows what can be achieved with sleeve design. You wouldn't mind paying £20 or so for this.
But I'm not just here to ramble on about the sleeve, I'm trying to figure out how many albums Maia have made now. It's a few anyway. They have made their name mostly on the UK folk scene but their music is a hybrid of psychedelia, disco, opera and harmony pop. Their songs are great and inventive. I'm feeling that their impressive musicianship sometimes threatens to swamp their always interesting melodies. 'Lazy Lawns' is a particular issue here - a fey waltz - it is overawed by a twinkly piano solo that appears to have been seemingly taken from some music hall ditty. Better is 'Jessica' which superbly showcases a sound that takes the Beatles 'Sgt Pepper' chug, adds in some early Bee Gees melody and adds in all manner of sonic effects. Very good.
Often Maia begin songs in a sort of ukelele wielding manner, all too reminiscent of those days when we had to put up with the winsome likes of Noah and the Whale but stick with it as their songs always twist and sprawl into unique areas. 'A Splendid Galaxy' is a superb example of this - a beautiful otherworldly piece that recalls early Marc Bolan and Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom.
The record isn't all perfect and there's the odd moment you'll want to skip but that is the price paid for a restless inventiveness. Maia again show enough promise and unique beauty here that could see them viewed as a vital English band in years to come.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Wild Waters by Maia
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