MAINES – Spring EP review
Wales based post punk outfit MAINES released their densely layered EP “Spring” in March of 2020. Easily blending shoegaze and post punk into one incredible six track package, MAINES have arrived to breathe new life into post punk. The release requires multiple listens, but there truly is something here for everyone with elements of rock, punk, post punk, and shoegaze sprinkled throughout the 26 minutes of music. At times feeling overwhelming, simply to the sheer amount of music hurled at the listener from the first second to the last.
Almost immediately the gloomy, aggressive atmosphere is developed on opening track “The Battle of the Ventral Pallidum”. The end of each song features a shift in sound to close the tracks leading up to “Malkovich” which feels almost like an entirely different band for the first two minutes. All of this culminates in the final two tracks, showcasing the softer side of this more often rough band. On “Dreams” desperation rings louder than thunder throughout the chorus whereas on “Whales” the entire songs atmosphere is drifting out of the project and letting the listener drift away slowly from the band as the music ends.
It’s all beautiful. Every song has its own unique soundscape that the band explores almost side by side with the listener. Nothing is predictable, gone is the age old post punk playbook. The production, though heavily distorted almost entirely throughout, is crystal clear and is key to the delivery MAINES has so generously provided. It’s refreshing to see a Post Punk group that isn’t a clone or some kind of combination of The Smiths and Joy Division. While the roots are certainly there, this band could just easily call themselves a grunge act, or even more generally an Alt-Rock act and it would still be fitting.
The band announces in their bio that they add a touch of shoegaze. The way it’s incorporated in this release is subtle. But I have no doubt it’s much more prominent in their live performance as it’s a lot easier to distinguish live. On the record it’s definitely present and may be the factor making this band so unique compared to the thousands of punk bands across the globe. The combination feels natural, almost as if they were born into this unique soundscape and they want to invite the rest of us to their world.
So far 2020 has been an outstanding year for music, the exception of not being able to go to shows. However, MAINES have stomped into the picture. This could be the breakout group of the year. “How far can this group go?”, isn’t even the proper question to ask, this group can reach astronomical heights. The correct question in regards to this group is: “When can we get more of their music?” it’s addictive, its mind bending and most importantly it’s honest. MAINES release “Spring” is a very impressive and intelligent record. Here’s to many more to come.
Words by Justin Mostaffa