Max Gowan - Mass Transit
Info: Max Gowan is a Raleigh, NC based musician and Mass Transit is the latest release in his impressive back catalogue, this album being penned at the tender age of 19. Mass Transit is a heady reverb drenched trip, a melting pot of dreamy guitar pop melodies, introspective lyrics, delicate vocals and lush instrumentation. All these aspects culminate beautifully to form something which contrasts starkly with Gowan's contemporaries, setting him apart as one to really watch for the future.
Mass Transit is an album that someone 10 or even 15 years Max Gowan's senior would be rightfully proud of. It is awash with mellow calm, straight from the opening of 'Sun Sleep', watery guitar effects giving a pleasant feeling of being submerged in a haze of slow-paced well-being. Second track 'Avent Ferry' shifts the focus to more lo-fi indie territory á la one of Gowan's self-confessed influences, Elliott Smith, and while many acts reference Smith nowadays, Gowan's imprint is all over the track, from the subtle trickling electric guitar motif which appears throughout the song.
A personal favourite comes in the form of 'Saturday Afternoon', a blissful concoction of Mac DeMarco meets Conan Mockasin guitars, jangle-pop effects and bending riffs, delightful. Equally uplifting is 'Mr.Turnaround', acoustic guitar as it should sound on a breezy dream-pop album, leading the rhythm rather than complimenting it, as with other tracks on Mass Transit, the sparse percussion adds greatly to the restrained rocking mood of the song.
'You Should' interestingly recalls Jeff Buckley's posthumous Sketches album, pointed and sharp guitars and vocals that show Gowan isn't samey when it comes to his voice. Following the instrumental title-track comes a solid single in the making with 'Devil Kid' (below), deep tones and melodies to beat the band are all executed wonderfully as the song reaches its peak, this is mellow alternative indie at its finest.
Max Gowan - Devil Kid
Next up is 'Lot's of Fun', a grungey 90's vibe appears out of nowhere at the beginning, riffs echoing a Nirvana or Pearl Jam Unplugged session, before we climb into pop harmonies and sounds, another highlight. As if he hadn't led us by the hand enough, Max Gowan pushes us one step closer to escapist ecstasy on 'Pony', lyrical simplicity allows us to focus on the beauty of this tracks final minute and a half. In truth I could have shared my observations on all 14 of the tracks on Mass Transit but leave the rest to you on what is a pretty damn fine album and astounding given that is entirely home-recorded by a musician who is yet to enter their twenties.
Mass Transit is available on CD, cassette or free digital download (contributions are nice!) over at Little L Records Bandcamp page here;
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