Taking a listen
Max Indian — You Can Go Anywhere, Do Anything Steeped in just about every conceivable facet of ’60s rock, Max Indian (www.myspace.com/ maxindian) puts themselves in great company with their debut release You Can Go Anywhere, Do Anything. The album owes a lot to Magical Mystery Tour and White Album-era Beatles, with its back-mixed, reverb-heavy vocals and intrepid studio exploits. Don’t call them gimmicks, but the layered studio chatter, backwards guitar riffs and ubiquitous lo-fi aesthetic filter through as a part of the band’s own personality while still nodding to their main influence. The whole album’s cheerful vibe stems from sort of a blithe creative ethos, even on the few tracks — “Big Picture,” for example — that deal with gloomier subject matter. Lead singer Carter Gaj even keeps his composure on in the face of a broken heart on “Now I Know” and declares “I guess I played my part/in the production of my broken heart/fell so hard that I fell apart.” If there’s anything to fault with the album, it’s that parts of the album take on a bit of a homogenized pacing and feel. Gaj’s vocals are soothing and reassuring throughout, but repeated listens causes parts of the album to blur together in a haze of similitude. It’s apparent that the band intended to intermingle tracks in such a way to avoid that phenomenon, but it simply becomes hard to distinguish where each track belongs in the album’s overall schema. Yet, its easy to spin this as a positive, since its also comes across as a blank slate that allows the listener to ascribe new significance to the songs each time through.
Doublethink — Seeing Red Sometimes it’s not about what you do, but more so in how you go about doing it. That can easily be said about New London, Conn.-based rock band Doublethink (www.myspace.com/doublethinkrocks), who have become renowned for their incredible on-stage energy and charisma. Their upcoming EP and fifth release overall — Seeing Red, appropriately to be released on Valentine’s Day — is a testament to that. Produced by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley of Iron Maiden and Silverchair fame, the five-track disc is ambitiously rangy with clear influences from snarling mid-’90s grunge to more even-keeled pop rock. That said, it’s fortunate that the band’s live reputation does precede them because depth or innovation doesn’t appear to be a pillar upon which Doublethink rests. Their music is fun and energetic, but there’s not a lot of fresh or insightful material to be found on Seeing Red. The opening track “California Doll” is reminiscent of Superunknown-era Soundgarden in its aggressive instrumentation. However, its structure is rather mechanical and subject matter effectively stale and tread-upon. The tone of the album takes a pretty dramatic shift in tone after the slightly less-heavy, though just as formulaic, “You Think We’re In Love?” into the Foo Fighters-lite “Going Nowhere.” It might be the strongest track on the album with the incessantly catchy chorus of “going nowhere/getting there in good time” grabbing hold of your eardrums and not letting go. The band seems to trip over “Get Your Gun,” with singer Scott Brown appearing to overextend his vocal range just a bit, though it ends strong with the quixotically unconcerned “Introversatile.” Doublethink will be visiting Fayetteville’s Rock Shop on Feb. 19 and the Volume 11 Tavern in Raleigh on the 20 th . 57/100
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