Chilean shoegazers show taking time with debut EP paid off
Three years in the making, and the Maff have finally released their debut EP. What started out as some friends jamming and recording in a cabin on a beach in Matanza Chile, has developed into thirty four minutes of precise newgazine indie rock.
Act 1 opens the Maff EP with a languorous, but driving instrumental. The beauty of an instrumental is that you can express the emotional content in a way words can’t. At times it verges on post-rock, but there is a slight pop sensibility to Act 1, that stops it advancing into Avant-Garde territory. Linger Around is a belter with a driving drum beat and surging bass. Lyrically however Maff aren’t really saying much, but after the beginning instrumental, vocals add a nice change in texture. But near the end, it all starts to get a bit samey. Walking on Fire sounds like a Joy Division-lite, with repetitive riff and monotone vocals. While this isn’t a bad thing, the EP isn’t living up to its early promise. Million Year Picnic follows another formulaic and when the song finishes, it is a distant memory.
Someday however is totally memorable. Partly due to the slight change in sound. The guitars feel louder, and their pace has been slowed down. When the vocals kick in, there is an ethereal vibe, not unlike Sigur Ros, but heavier and melodic. Here Maff really show that they can create something lugubrious as well as the faster paced numbers that opened the EP. Someday also acts as a bridge, between the first and second half of the EP. You feels like a Ride demo, or B-Side. Big chugging guitars do battle with delicate vocals, until a fuzzy outro calls it a draw. Planet Wave follows this blueprint, expect it adds shouty vocals. At first they add to the songs charm, but after a while it really grates, which is a shame as it was shaping up to be a proper banger. The EP closes with Blue Seas. This is a standard indie rock track. Guitars dripping in effects slam into a pounding beat that creates a wave like feeling as the vocals float on top.
There is something hypnotic about this EP, with its twisting guitar and synth lines, like a labyrinth that is in constant movement, just when you’ve found your way, it becomes blocked by wall of guitars or a fog of synths.