For Fans Of
Enduring devil-fearing southern troopers Maylene and the Sons of Disaster are by extension polarising. In many respects this is surprising. The band is not your clichéd, breakdown-laden, ‘core’ band but still when referenced the response varies from well-received to insufferable. You only have to look at Killyourstereo‘s take on the group’s previous two studio albums and this notion becomes evident. One good, one bad. Although, it is worth noting that up until now the band are deservedly and justifiably respected.
MATSOD are endearing insofar as their music is easy to relate to, accessible and has a lively presence. However, while sophomore release, conveniently titled ‘II‘ was solid and impressive, next offering ‘III‘ (aptly titled again) was inconsistent. Rager ‘Step Up (I’m on It)‘ aside, the album played too safe and while passable, still lacked that musical venom needed to make the group more grand.
Enter ‘IV‘ and we are presented with a different feel entirely. Yes, there is a more commercial, straight-forward angle here but it shouldn’t be a means to easily and quickly condemn. It’s conscious and crafted with clear direction instead of stumbled upon because of musical indecision or laziness.
‘In Dead We Dream‘ kicks things off in promising and considered fashion. Much like previous tracks in the back catalogue, a la ‘Darkest of Kin‘, this song is full of southern-tinged riffs and entertaining vocal hooks that make you want to crack open a beer and turn the stereo dial up. Following song ‘Save Me‘ again is encouraging but ‘Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)‘ is where opinion starts to become divided. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher to say the least.
While ‘Open Your Eyes‘ shows how one can pull off contemporary southern, bluesy inspired rock ‘n’ roll, contrastively ‘Drought of ’85‘ highlights the direct opposite.
The change in sound, on face value is not a deterrent. When done well and in a calculated and precise way it can come off fluently. Unfortunately, at times this release focuses on the typical side of song structure too often, with this coming at the expense of much needed variety. ‘IV‘ is heartfelt but not dynamic. Make of it what you will.
‘IV’ is intriguing. The response and reception to this album changes with each subsequent track. At times, you feel like lauding Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. At other occasions, you feel like lamenting the band. It’s this roller-coaster response that makes ‘IV’ slightly inconsistent. There’s some decent moments on studio album number four but as a listener, you’re perhaps best served isolating the best four or five tracks and sticking with them.
1. In Dead We Dream
2. Save Me
3. Faith Healer (Bring Me Down)
4. Open Your Eyes
5. Killing Me Slow
6. Taking On Water
7. Fate Games
8. Come For You
9. Never Enough
10. Cat’s Walk
11. Drought Of ’85
12. Off To The Laughing Place