Mary Anne's Polar Rig - Makes You Wonder
From the start of the first song, Makes You Wonder hits hard, I quickly get completely floored by how good it is. I would go so far as to say that will be one of the best records of the year. The album is overarching in the spirit of 90s rock, with obvious inspirations from now culturally classic bands such as the Pixies, Hole and The Breeders. It’s often quite harsh and cocky, but the melodic and dance-friendly sound is always nearby and hence my thoughts are also sometimes brought to one of Juliana Hatfield’smany musical projects.
All the songs on Makes You Wonder are performed confidently, a nonchalant cockiness that I don’t hear very often, and which at the beginning of the first song feels completely obvious. Malin Hofvander, who accounts for the majority of the song, totally convinces me that MAPR is sick good, and if you who read also want to be completely convinced, 2:24 – 3:19 in “Summer Girl” will convert anyone to my page.
Hofvander possesses a hoarse and at times jarring voice that penetrates the often heavily distended guitars and forms a perfect cacophony of well-written rock. However, it would be an affront to say that MAPR is only limited to well-written rock, there are also elements of melodic janglepop-like songs and sections that fall tantalizingly close to dreampop and shoegaze.
It’s hard to describe when you feel like something is just really working. Whether it’s the rowdy nineties sound of “Summer Girl” or “Dopamine Detox,” or the fever-dreaming intermission that is “Who Cares,” or the occasionally hallucinatory and over seven-minute “Life in the City,” you know it’s something extraordinary you’re listening to.
It is noticeable that the band made the record for themselves, that this is a collection of songs that they really want to represent the band, and is not something they wrote for the sake of it. Songs that span seven minutes and long instrumental sections aren’t otherwise the most commercially viable, but that’s okay because it’s so damn nice to take part in something that doesn’t conform to algorithms and rules.
[Rama Lama Records, March 24]