Maybeshewill’s third album was awaited with great anticipation. After coveted success of their first two long plays the game was not only to live up to them but also to come up with something that will blow the public away for a third time in a row. First single ‘To The Skies From A Hillside’ gave a really good preview of what is to be expected. The guys from Leicester transformed from a garage, or spare bedroom band with a bit of an environmental message into legitimate post-rock visionaries.
From the very first seconds of ‘Opening’ I got carried away by the teardrop clear piano chords, very subtle strings (kudos to Her Name Is Calla’s Sophie for her contribution) and the melody that immediately created a different universe. From this moment on the previously ever so present rough guitar riffs were left slightly in the background, leaving the cello and piano to take over the role of a guide to Maybeshewill’s new world.
If I had to pick one phrase to describe ‘I Was Here For A Moment…’ it would definitely be ‘grown up’. The landscapes created by the orchestral sequences are very cinematic and to me there is a storyline with a character behind the concept of the album. The spirit of the title is present on every track and paints the narrative as a farewell rite of passage. The mentioned ‘Opening’ is still hopeful, the somehow nervous piano only announces the subtle notes of melancholy. ‘Take This To Heart’ brings it to the fuller level, the melody of the strings conveys the feeling of deep breath of great accomplishment. It’s almost like the character who’s leaving was reminiscing the joyful moments, especially in the most uplifting ‘Red Paper Lanterns’, a track full of literally unbearable lightness of being. Every time I hear it, the melody just makes me want to run down a hill, lose my breath and explode with joy. ‘Critical Distance’ introduces the minor, mature and toned down notes, whereas ‘Accolades’, after a heavy and fast sequence, creates a vision of an overall praise. Yet the piano keys struck the nerve strings and ‘An End To Camaraderie’ reintroduces the band’s trade mark heavy riffs, however the cello underneath gives the feeling of a building up despair. The ritual of leaving begins and it’s not at all easy. ‘Words For Arabella’ sound like a lecture, wise words from the departing, applauded with clapping hands. ‘Farewell, Sarajevo’, with the greatest orchestral tones and the saddest chords on cello, marks the character’s official good bye. The distant, firm sounds of piano that lead to ‘Relative Minors’, lead to the final stage of departing. With ‘To The Skies From A Hillside’ the character whose path we’ve been following is gone.
This is another conceptual album from Maybeshewill and indeed the concept, as well as the sound, have been polished to absolute perfection. Even though it is a melancholic farewell rite of passage, because the character ‘was there for a moment’ the album keeps it’s tempo and there is a very clear impatience in the undertone of each track. The final song’s title emphasizes the immediate association with running down a hill. From the production side the tracks merge one into another seamlessly and beautifully, making the album my own private small post-rock symphony. The melodies, with subtle hints of emotions ranging from euphoria to despair, help to visualize the musical landscapes.
All in all, I believe Maybeshewill with their third full-length album definitely mark their own spot on the post-rock scene. The riffs, the suspended melodies, the tempo – they are by now the band’s trade marks. While recording ‘I was here for a moment, then I was gone’ the goal was to create clear, sharp, cinematic melodies and the final result is a great accomplishment of Jamie Ward’s mastering at Seamus Wong Studio. Yet I am more than certain that live, just as God Is An Astronaut, the guys from Leicester with their guitars will continue to remind us why post-rock derives from rock. And even though they have been here for a moment, they certainly won’t be gone any time soon.
Released May 30 on Function Records
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Posted by Madga