If you could imagine what it would be like to experience Desert Mountain Tribe, Oh Sees, the Fall and the Jim Jones Review simultaneously, you still wouldn’t come close to anticipating the brooding eclecticism of The Maitlands’ freshly cultivated sound in their first release of 2021.
With their double A-side, Diving in at the Shallow End / Bobby Driscoll, they’ve thrown a significant proportion of their humble indie rock swagger to the wayside to find more room for their artistic fortitude.
Mark Winterburn’s (Nine Black Alps, Plan B, Don Bronco, The Script) production, engineering and mastering brought a cinematic flair to the singles with symphonic motifs decorating the signature affably despondent style from their earlier releases. But honestly, I feel like I’ve just experienced the darkest post-punk glow-up imaginable.
Diving in at the Shallow End starts with desolate desert rock tones before the percussion starts speaking to you on a primal level, and discord starts to amass in the psychedelically arranged single until it breaks into a frenetic feat of dingy garage rock n’ roll.
Bobby Driscoll is a conceptual exploration of identity, loss and tragedy inspired by the story of the Disney child actor who wound up in an unmarked grave. It starts by stripping hubris away with the simple yet disarming question, ‘Do you ever feel like you’ve become a caricature of yourself?” As someone who frequently navigates the world in a dissociative state trying to uphold the image I project, it’s safe to say the compassionate narrative hit hard as it unfolded around the walls of shoegazey guitars and percussion that thrashes its way through, managing to reflect the inner turmoil that anyone with a hint of self-awareness feels.
Review by Amelia Vandergast