MAE - (M)orning

Published Monday 19th July 2010
MAE - (M)orning
MAE - (M)orning

RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Independent
FORMAT: CD Mini-album

Reviewed by Steve Husband

As their loyal fans will know, MAE are an art rock band formed in Norfolk, Virginia in 2001. The name is an acronym for Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience, which is derived from a concept that drummer Jacob Marshall studied. Moving labels from Tooth & Nail Records to Capitol saw MAE's album 'Singularity' released in 2007 but this was shortly followed by two band members leaving with half a million album sales behind them and extensive touring ahead. 2009 saw the band decide to work without a record label and to donate all of their profits from digital downloads to fund humanitarian projects. The basis of the idea was three concept albums using the initials of the band name (M)orning, (A)fternoon, (E)vening. A song each month downloadable for $1 on raised over $66,000 in 2009. The first mini-album, 'Morning' is a blend of eight varied tracks commencing with "Good Morning" a short, light track intending to mimic that waking feeling. This slips comfortably into "The Fisherman Song" that picks up the tempo a little with sweet vocals and melodic finger picking before embarking on a rollercoaster of styles from driving rock, manic thrash and gentle reflection. "The House That Fire Built" maintains the pace adding some very imaginative sounds in places with good vocal arrangements but ends with 50 seconds of pointless watery sound effects. "Boomerang" is a high energy track which interestingly moves into instrumental phase for the last minute gradually becoming the same as the opening of "Two Birds" so that you hardly detect the start of the next track. "Two Birds" is a fine musical interpretation of the simple beautiful movement and singing of two birds on a summer's day and shows the superb musical ability of the band. "A Melody, The Memory" and "Night/Day" follow similar patterns to "Boomerang" and to close the album "Morning Drive" takes you on an imaginary drive with the use of some opening sound effects leaving the house and getting into a car followed by a light guitar riff to represent the journey falling back into sound effects at the end of the journey.

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