I’m sure I got this off eMusic months ago, but it’s been flagged up to my attention again just recently, so since I’m doing anything I can think of to avoid boring myself rigid by watching the Superbowl it’s getting written about tonight.
Maxwell Panther comes from Sunderland, but this album is released by Song, By Toad which makes it Scottish enough for Aye Tunes, just in case you were planning on having a go at me for daring to venture outside our borders. There’s plenty of other things you can have a go at me for though, if you are already angered up.
Everyone else that’s written about this album has already mentioned the same thing that I’m about to, but it’s a factor that pretty much has to be brought up, so let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way straight off (there, now you can yell at me for saying “elephant in the room”, don’t say I don’t work hard). This album is rough as Hell. At times it sounds like it was recorded on a mobile phone, while Mr Panther sang and played in a different room. If you don’t like lo-fi recording you probably won’t like this.
If you can get beyond that – and fortunately I can or this would be a very short and not very nice review – the next notable thing is that the roughness of recording doesn’t really matter.
The lousy production and rough as fuck recording do bring with them a certain charm, but beyond that there’s just some really good songs in here. It’s essentially Maxwell and his guitar, plus whatever reverb and distortion tactics people use for these things – I’ve never claimed to know anything about technology – and it’s really very enjoyable. The songs tend to be slice-of-life type stuff, with a healthy dose of anger and aggression, yet also, somehow, tons of charms.
When listening to the album I kept thinking of Half Man Half Biscuit and Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. No idea why, Maxwell Panther sounds nothing like either of them, but making me think of those two bands is – at least to me – a really good thing.
I doubt Maxwell Panther will be troubling the mainstream any time soon, but if I’m picking something recorded in a bedroom I’ll take him over the likes of Unicorn Kid any day. Hell, I’d rather have this than some over polished stadium rock nonsense for that matter.
Oh yeah, and it is much better than the Superbowl.
The lovely people at Song, by Toad have given me permission to post a couple of tracks off the album so you can have a wee listen and decide for yourself if it’s your thing or not.
Lost Soul on a Roll (That’s Me)
Do You Feel Different Yet? is out now, available at all the usual download shops, and you can buy a CD direct from Song, By Toad Records.