I’ve been a fan of Maybeshewill for a long time. Admittedly they may have changed genre slightly, but I honestly think they’ve improved with each album. This may have meant I’d set my bar ridiculously high, but unfortunately Fair Youth doesn’t live up to my expectations. It’s a good album, but I think it’s the first album where Maybeshewill haven’t really pushed their boundaries.
Over the space of three albums Maybeshewill have gone from a sample-heavy math-metal band, to one of the of the best post rock bands at the moment. But Fair Youth strikes me as playing it safe.
Opening track ‘In Amber’ is exactly what you would expect: electronic noises, heavy guitar and drums, and lots of piano. It’s a good opener to the album, and if you’re a fan you’ll probably like it. ‘You and Me and Everything In Between’ is more of the same, influences of Jeniferever, early 65daysofstatic and young upstarts Waking Aida abound.
However, it is around title track ‘Fair Youth’ that things take a downwards turn for me. Every time I’ve listened I feel like it just sort of tails off, and before I know it, it’s getting towards the end of the album. None of the songs individually are bad, but they’re nothing special. Occasionally parts of a song will jump out at you, and ‘In The Blind’ is definitely one of the best songs I’ve heard all year – a huge orchestral song that unfortunately serves only to remind me of how good Maybeshewill can really be. Similarly with closing track ‘Volga’; an electronics-laden emotional farewell which leaves you thinking of what could have been.
Overall, the album strikes me a slightly poorer version of 2011’s ‘I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone’. I really liked that album, so although it may sound like I’m being harsh, it’s rather I had high expectations which weren’t met, despite there being four really good songs. I’m hoping a few more listens will prove me wrong though.
– Alex Ryan