Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The New Mauxms Album Review

Recently I was proposed with the idea of giving a write up to the new upcoming Mauxms album, and I just couldn't resist to share a couple of words on this subject, all for the sake of my blog audience, or anyone who's really into supporting the local Florida music scene in general. Gabe was courteous enough to give me an acetate of his band's newly polished tracks, which will appear on their upcoming LP, which is still in the works as we speak. So as you can see, I'm really excited about delivering this review on it. Anyways, after listening closely to the tracks, these were some of the words that came to mind...

Mauxms Album Cover Art

Anthem opens up with a symphonic cacophony of horns set against a spontaneous break beat that's purposely (and masterfully) out of control. The refined madness in this instance is obviously a hats off to Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention (circa Lumpy Gravy or Uncle Meat, for that matter). You can also hear traces of Hugh Masekela, Miles Davis, or the soundscapes that Jimi Hendrix was exploring during his Band of Gypsies/Gypsy Sun and Rainbows period. It's not until the song reaches its close that one begins to realize what exactly prompted this track's livelihood. It seems to be a rehashing of the very famous Also Sprach Zarathustra (AKA: The 2001: A Space Odyssey theme) but cleverly done in such a way that it comes off as a highly original (tight budget orchestra-like) opening number while also paying homage to the original symphonic piece. The red eye of the freakish rogue ship's computer Hal comes to mind here, resonating the onerous phrase "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave!" and goes on to echo eerily within the confines of my mind. Of course, that's just my eccentric influential take on it all. One only needs to attend a live Mauxms show and see them make it their own center piece for the night, summoning up their free formed rhythm section of sonic magic in order to pave the way for the wonders of the blues, jazz, psychedelic, and all the other funk-like experimentation to come.

On'er Blues sounds like it was taped straight from a live performance. One can almost smell the smoky atmosphere of a blues lounge on this number. It begins with a cross between a Boston number and what one would normally hear coming from the likes of The Saturday Night Live Orchestra. The only thing missing here is a celebrity walking to the stage and doing his warm up routine. Of course, in this instance...it's the band themselves that are providing the warm up, for themselves, as they go into very well delivered solos, which are all heralded by the funky chanting of James Partridge, singing: "Get up! Get it on top of me now!" This very well polished studio gem, and what makes the song all the more exciting are the cues calling for the guitar solo work of Gabe Mendoza as well as a bass solo, provided courtesy of Andrew Herrero whose virtuoso technicality reminds me of Jaco Pastorius. The song also sounds like something out of a Traffic repertoire as well. I'm thinking Light Up or Leave Me Alone. Very cool, man! Very cool... trey superb, to say the least!

Ponsela conjures up several images of free form jazz play a la the likes of King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King, and then switches gears into a progressive drum solo highly reminiscent of Neil Peart (of Rush) and/or Stewart Copeland (of The Police). If I wasn't paying careful attention to the song I'm playing, I could have sworn that my Mp3 player changed tracks on me and was kicking out the jams with Demolition Man. Science! Come to life, indeed... Javier Mendez and Ronald Romero are by all accounts, indeed a very tight rhythmic section; two syncopated drum machines to be reckoned with---with a bevy of drum stick swirls and percussive beats to boot!James Partridge's vocals soar while offering the cleverly written couplet in the opening verse; "You cannot hide what you cannot vanish, you can lie but you cannot damage..." After the tempo stops and fades into another movement, he summons the spirit of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame and embodies the cool vocal styling very much like Plant does in the Zeppelin staple I Can't Quit You Baby. The tune later cascades into a percussive driven tour de force, with the line: "¡Tu No Puede Salvarte!" which literally translates into "You Can't Save Yourself!" which is also reminiscent of early Santana back in their 60's Woodstock heyday with their electrifying rendition of Soul Sacrifice and all. Yes, sir... nobody is safe from The Mauxms' unstoppable musical tour de force!

Perhaps the most exciting and moving piece comes in the form of Vesuvium. The beginning cymbal crashes pave the way for what can only be described as a nod to Frank Zappa and his City of Tiny Lights. It then fades into several musical suites, some of which remind me of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers' (Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and/or any of the other funky numbers from the Californication album). As the song progresses, the tempo changes into a slow moving blues piece that can only be described as something out of the early Pink Floyd catalog, particularly something in the More Movie Soundtrack (I'm guessing maybe Quicksilver, or More Blues?). Portions of this section also remind me of The Floyd's live onstage performances of Embryo, Sheep, and/or Pigs (Three Different Ones)for that matter as well...don't ask me why, it just sounds good! It is here where Gabe Mendoza's guitar work is at its peak, using a handful of delay and compressor pedals at his disposal. You know you can always rate the musical abilities of a musician by not only how great they perform, and/or what they play, but also for their technical know how when it comes to using effects at their advantage. And these boys, are definitely no exception to that rule.

If you haven't had a chance to see The Mauxms perform live, then do yourself a favor and add them as a friend on MySpace and go out to one of their shows. You won't be disappointed. For this, my friends, is the epitome of what a great band is; and what good music should be, for that matter! Anyways, that's just my two cents worth on this exciting subject. I hope you all will dig it as much as I have. Until next time...

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated blog that is The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsors...