Maybeshewill: Not for Want of Trying
Maybeshewill is a band that I was introduced to only a few weeks ago, through a recommendation of my last.fm software. The thirty-second clip it gave me was very reminiscent of the impeccable post-industrial band 65daysofstatic (even the name - words run together - seemed to suggest serious ties). So after a bit of searching, I was able to get my hands on a copy of their debut LP, Not for Want of Trying.
Now, before I go any further (and in case my words of praise in the first paragraph weren't enough), I should admit that I quite enjoy 65dos' music - I find it dense, layered, complex, inventive, and original. Consequently, I figured that a group with a similar style would be worth my time.
The problem lies, however, in the fact that Maybeshewill doesn't sound similar to 65daysofstatic. The newer band sounds derivative.
The difference between the two is huge.
It's one thing to be influenced by and incorporate elements from an artist or group that you admire, taking their ideas and adding them to your own, making something new. It's another thing entirely to completely rip off the sound of a well-established and respected post-music outfit.
Regrettably, that's all Not for Want of Trying is - a poorly done rehash of 65dos' style, sound, and vibe. Everything is a copy - from the overly-used piano sounds on the keyboard to the gaudy attempt at inventive drum programming to the bad male/female duet. It's all been done before and done amazingly better by the older band.
It doesn't even sound as though Maybeshewill is trying to bring anything new to the table. For example, their programming drumkit noises are the exact same sounds that 65dos uses. It's as though Maybeshewill carefully read the liner notes for the other group's last release and bought all of the same equipment and software, trying to recreate the successful sound - but without any of the heart, passion, or complexity.
It all feels forced; it all feels like a path that's been tread on my far better musicians. Yet at the same time, it feels simplified, watered-down and soulless. It's like the difference between playing 'The Entertainer' my Scott Joplin and the primer arrangement of the song for a second-year piano student. It's like hearing Beethoven's Fifth turned into a monochromatic ringtone for a 5-year-old mobile phone.
The whole thing disappoints me greatly. I was hoping for something that would set my teeth on edge and take my breath away like 65daysofstatic can; instead, all it earns is a resounding 'harrumph.'
Tracks to catch: 'Seraphim and Cherubim' is the closest this album comes to original, and is probably the best song on the record. 'Heartflusters', with its laughably ugly duet, is worth listening to if only to giggle. 'He Films the Clouds' tries - and turns out marginally okay.
It would be unfairly harsh for me to give Not for Want of Trying 1/5, even though a part of me really wants to. If you like post-rock or post-industrial, and aren't familiar with the work of 65daysofstatic, go ahead and listen to these guys first. That way you won't hate it as much as I did. And then go pick up some of the masters of post-industrial and find out what you're missing.
An open message to Maybeshewill: next time, try writing your own music, instead of putting someone else's superior product through the crap filter and calling it yours. I'm sorry. I really wanted you to be good, but you're not.