You wouldn’t suspect it based on this EP’s unique and confidently homogenous sound, but this self-titled album is The Maxims‘ debut release.
The local garage rock quartet, whose sound frontman Avi Meyers describes as “gritty and raw,” composed several of the tracks in the years preceding their recording session last summer. The resulting EP has a unified sound that still gives each instrument space to speak. And while the album comes in at just under eighteen minutes in length, there’s plenty of diversity in style and in influence: “Heartbeat” is a classic rock song in the tradition of Chuck Berry, the band turns to the blues on “Black Kind of Heart,” which harkens back to Lead Belly, and “Endless Mind,” incorporates elements of modern, progressive rock—heavy off beats, and a lack of resolution in the progression.
Meyers’ crunchy electric guitar fizzes and echoes as if bouncing off the walls of a large hall. His voice, in contrast, is flattened and filtered, squeezing thinly out of the speakers. But the compressed sound doesn’t dampen the emotion—with a snarling leer, his voice slithers through his lips like a snake, but touched with the electric charge of an eel.
Meyers is accompanied by a trio of bass, drums, and keys; the bass is kept dry and woody and features its higher register, a tempered contrast to the more mercurial guitar. Heavy use of the cymbals and high hat amplify the charged sizzle of the vocals and guitar. The sustain chords of a classic electric organ complete the sound, the minor chords evoking the tone of a playerless piano in a haunted house, adding a touch of the macabre.
Listen to the album in full below, and join The Maxims in celebrating their album release at The Plough and the Stars in Cambridge on Friday night. The album will be available for purchase on Pledge Music on 6/16.