Many of you are probably wondering who The Maginot Band are. That or I’m just a bit slow as I’ve only been aware of them for a couple of weeks (they have a gig in Mad Hatters so I discovered them while compiling this months The List). So, this is who they are:
The Maginot Band are a 6 piece indie pop rock band from little wee places up in Caithness, and they’ve only been knocking about for a couple of months. They are Jordan Shearer on (I assume) lead vocals, Calvin Wilson on bass, Kevin Swanson and Jamie Swanson on guitar (that first two also do a bit of vocals), Liam Whittles on organ and piano, and Darren Coghill pounding the drums. LOADS of them. And the stand out from a lot of indie rock bands is that organ/piano that Liam is on as that’s a bit different isn’t it? Over all I’d say they have that contemporary yet retro sound that there’s a fair bit of about, bands from this decade that would have fit in perfectly well at the end of the last century. Nothing up with that at all. They also strangely sound like they’re from the north of England rather than the far north of Scotland. I say strangely but for all I know they are, I don’t know any of them personally.
I was thinking they were a bit highly polished for a brand new band, then I had a look at the highlight piece at Netsounds and found they’ve been playing in various combinations and as various names for quite a while now. That explains that then. Doesn’t really matter how long they’ve been together, 10 months or 10 years and you can still either be really crap or damned good. These guys? Damned good.
Yes they’re influences are on their sleeves particularly vocally, but there’s only so many types of music going and being similar but different is no bad thing. Being polished, bringing something good to listen to and something a bit new are the important things. And they have all of that. And when I compare them to north of England late 90’s indie I don’t mean the terrible whiny crap that pervaded the music scene in amongst a plethora of good stuff, I mean the upbeat slightly anthemic stuff that you can dance a bit to.
For you’re paltry sum of money you get 4 tracks. Slow Down Sun Dial starts us off with a flurry before dropping to nearly pure vocals, steadily building up to the main hook. Heavy lifting throughout the tune is done by the organ with some damned fine drums in the back ground (there’s plenty of guitar too, but it’s the organ that stands out for me). Some great harmonising from the guys and if you were in a crowd there’s “ba ba bah” bits to chant along with. Bit anthemic, see? Second track Trees starts off with the organ and bass, and for me it’s the bass that’s the carrier of this one. Also a builder with some harmonising, bit of a theme for their stuff really. The chorus “Sunshine keeps me warm at night, four walls keep me safe till daylight” is either utter nonsense, a plug for solar power or really deep. I’m not sure really. Same goes for much of the lyrics but they sound good so who cares? This one tails off gently and is a bit of a gentler tune over all.
The last two tracks are a part 1 and 2, called Waking Up to Rain. It’s the most retro track of them all (in my opinion of course, but it’s my review so it’s all my opinion). A little bit melancholy sounding, all drums at the start with a big organ solo in the late middle. While the sound is melancholy the lyrics are pretty much the opposite. I’ve said before I’m quite visual and I could see it being the theme for a BBC2 drama back in the era where this all fits, like a This Life type of thing. It really is a part 1 then 2 situation as it acts like a very long intro for the much louder guitar and drum dominated part 2. The most rocky part of the EP, big thumping instrumental sections that would have a crowd proper jumping around. And I’m assuming the band too. The lyrics? “We’ve blown our cover and now we will suffer as no one likes us now”. Load of bollocks, bloody well love ya.
The EP is available in all good digital record stores. My choice is Amazon generally and you can get it there for £2.76 there (not a sponsored link, I make nowt from this page so shop where you like). I think it may be cheaper elsewhere. Either way you can get it for less than a pint and it’s just short of 15 minutes of damned fine entertainment. I’ve listened to it a half dozen times now and I’ll be listening many many more.