[sic] Magazine

Maybeshewill – Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony

I’ll give Maybeshewill one thing – they make me think of Transformers: The Movie. Not the crappy Michael Bay franchise, but the original movie of the cartoon. This music would sound amazing as a soundtrack to transforming robots kicking the shit out of each other in space.

This is ‘instrumetal’, with the emphasis on ‘metal’ – not just the heavy guitars and thunderous drums, but the shine of metallic surfaces, the impenetrability of a robot shell. While sounding inhuman could be levelled as a criticism of a lot of modern, digitally processed music, this is exactly part of Maybeshewill’s appeal – their grooves are so tight and their metallic oomph so processed and smooth that this album sounds like it was made by robots rather than a band from Leicester. (Actually, I think if I had to live in Leicester I’d try and turn myself into a robot too…)

This album sways from awesome to disappointingly dull. The awesome comes from the bits that sound like Transformers: The Movie; the dull comes from the bits that sound like a million other instrumental bands. You know the stuff: repetitions of arpeggiated minor-key melodies and samples of voices intoning grimly serious prognoses about the future of humanity. Kudos to the band for including a sample from the excellent movie Good Night, And Good Luck (‘Our History Will Be What We Make Of It’), but the effect of these samples is to deaden the substantial wallop of the music.

My favourite bits are genuinely thrilling. Opener ‘You Can’t Shake Hands With A Clenched Fist’ throws you right into the melée, riffs flying like shrapnel. ‘This Time Last Year’ has a satisfying sludgy main riff, meaty chugging and some stinging guitar leads. ‘Accept and Embrace’ opens with a fizzing loop and some piano before launching into an anthemic climax with a synth lead that would perfectly soundtrack the bit in Transformers: The Movie where the Autobots make friends with humans. It’s fist-in-the-air stuff. And despite its awful title, ‘How To Have Sex With A Ghost’, has some really cool fret tapping and satisfying low-end grooves.

Towards the end of the album, ‘Last Time This Year’ doesn’t fare nearly so well, and the band seem to be treading water in a tune that could easily have been tightened up or omitted altogether. And while the closing title track has some more of those wonderful retro-futuristic synth sounds, the tune itself feels underdeveloped. This is a shame, because for an album that clocks in at under forty minutes, the more ponderous passages make the album feel much longer.
What’s most promising about this album is that there are some great heavy tunes, lots of exciting moments, and a band clearly in control of their craft. My bet is that their next album will be the one that gets them the attention they deserve.