Maia - Pepper Stars - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Maia - Pepper Stars

by Greg Spencer Rating:7 Release Date:

Maia are a band who labels themselves as 'sci-fi folk pop' and before you listen to a single track that's already an intriguing prospect. The preconception is that the label might just be a bit of a gimmick, and it is but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

There's something really melancholic and atmospheric about Pepper Stars which brings out a radiant and varied sound which gives this band a unique angle. It's an album which is a load of fun with plenty of 2 minute songs bursting with colour and texture, a song like 'Living In The Alligator' seems to be a song which makes no sense whatsoever but when you hear the trumpet blazing as the song reaches a climax, you can't help but be taken in by it.

The album just has a likeable and effervescent quality to it which transcends usual folk sounds which we're used to. Lead vocalist Tom Clegg has a great voice which sounds part Scandinavian and part inhuman, and on title track 'Pepper Stars' he has this spiritual sound which flows magically and fuses with the handful of instruments used on the track.

Except for the general theme of space, it's hard to tell exactly what the album is about but that isn't a bad thing, with any other record that would probably be a negative but it doesn't matter on this album as the feeling and instrumentation outweigh any desire for narrative or cohesion. Although if I'd want any band to do a concept album at some point, Maia would be up there as that might be something really special.

The problems with the record come with wanting a bit more of a personal touch, at times the record feels somewhat distant and too out-there. It's difficult to tell if a song like 'Four Angels' is something personal to the band as it sounds emotive but you just want that extra connection with the music.

Pepper Stars is an album worth listening to simply in order to experience something totally new and unique sounding to those of us who aren't connoisseurs of the 'sci-fi folk' genre. The highlights of the record come in songs like 'What Else But Earth?' and 'The Grandfather Plan' but there's more to it than a handful of songs, it's a record deserving of real appreciation and success.

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Maia - Pepper Stars - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
Maia - Pepper Stars
  • 12/08/2012
  • By Greg Spencer