This Maff article was written by Lauren Parsons, a GIGsoup contributor
With their self-titled first album, Maff seem to have been able to take the positives from several contrasting genres to concoct a melting pot of dream-pop, grungy loveliness.
The band are based in the metropolis of Santiago, Chile – a capital city surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Mapocho River, which splits the city in two. With such romantic surroundings, it’s only fitting that their album should be as authentic.
With each track being led by the electrical guitars, you wouldn’t expect such unobtrusive vocals to fit in but, strangely, they do. The band themselves list their style as “alternative”, which one could argue is a null term nowadays. What does alternative even mean now? According to Wikipedia even Coldplay are alternative. Scary. No, one might say this band represent the more modern atmospheric genre, where the sound and harmonies of the instruments and effects are prioritised over lyrics – something which can only be a good thing since most lyrics nowadays include such literal atrocities as “swagger” and, I say this through gritted teeth, “ratchet”. It seems in recent years people have forgotten how to formulate coherent words. Minimal lyrics is a good thing.
Their faraway sounding vocals will remind you of the modern masters of psychedelia, MGMT. The effect of Maff’s voices make you feel as if you are in an infinite space – you feel weightless. Before you flutter off into the clouds, though, the heavily electronic instruments bring you back down to earth. Listening to the album for so long can make the guitars and accompanying instruments seem like cogs in one’s head.
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A wonderland-type experience, the start of each new track is a new way of listening. At the start of ‘Someday’ you feel as though you are listening to it through a glass against a wall. ‘Linger Around’ perfectly demonstrates the fight between heavy grunge and soft indie, showing the power struggle between the percussion-dominated bassline and the more reflective, surrealist melody. ‘Walking On Fire’ offers the listener a more familiar experience, while the use of electric guitar and cymbals allow the piece to reach more ethereal heights. Something about this band reminds you, strangely enough, of 90s pop-punk – there’s something in the voices that imbues a sense of rebellion.
This album offers listeners the perfect soundtrack, whether you’re preparing yourself for a long drive or ploughing through weeks of work in a day. Its neutral lyrics provide an all-too-needed escape from the pre-hormonal screeches of mainstream music.
Released independently, Maff is available now.
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