REVIEW: Maybeshewill Ascend To New Heights With ‘Fair Youth’

Artist: Maybeshewill
Album: Fair Youth
Genre: Post-rock
Label: Superball

On their previous record, I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone, instrumental outfit Maybeshewill channeled the purest feelings of love and loss into a post-rock epic that became a shoo-in for one of the best albums of 2011. Thus, if there’s one album that deserves the highest of expectations coming into 2014, it is their long-awaited fourth full-length, Fair Youth.

Both on the surface and within its musical nuances, there’s something different from Maybeshewill’s previous work on the new record that’s worth noting before diving into its sound. While Sing the Word in Four Part Harmony featured inspiring vocal samples and I Was Here For A Moment utilized highly specific artwork to help direct its intentions, Fair Youth maintains an ambiguous appearance through its virtual lack of human sound and colorful yet blurred cover art, thus creating a highly personal experience that fully allows listeners to find their own meanings within the record.

Of course, quality music is a necessity for this experience to actually occur, thus where the first taste of the album, “In Amber,” comes into play. Featuring melodramatic keys that uphold the track’s forefront, strings in the back of the mix along with the occasional guitar riff serve as a compliment to help deliver its calming atmosphere. It’s an interesting direction to hear Maybeshewill take, but they pull it off in style, and as seen within the cuts that follow, what resides within the background of “In Amber” quickly becomes the main focus of Fair Youth.

On “You and Me and Everything Between,” the twinkling keys begin as the main focus of the track, but echoing guitars give way to  chugging of an absolutely beautiful nature. Much like on this cut, the guitar-work found throughout Fair Youth is of an essential nature as it drives some of its most emotional moments, whether it be through glistening riffs a la “Sanctuary” or the grittiness of “Waking Life.” Whenever it peaks, though, it’s surrounded by a wall of gorgeous sounds ranging from buzzing synths and horns to masterfully played strings, all coming together to strike deep into an emotional core that ends up creating thoughts like this in a certain reviewer’s head, personal pronouns be damned:

I want to watch the sun rise and fall to this record. I want to travel across the world to this record. I want to find the perfect relationship to this record. I want to have a family and watch them grow to this record. I want to experience both the highs and lows of life to this record.

Inspiring moments such as these due to Maybeshewill’s work happen time and time again throughout Fair Youth, all the way until its final act, “Volga.”

“Volga” is quite the bittersweet closer with it’s slowly stepping piano transitioning into the eventual climax of quickly picked guitars and a choir converting all of Fair Youth‘s human emotions into its first and last sign of vocal expression. Many records end and life goes on, but once the choir fades into black, Fair Youth‘s impact does not end. The exploration of humanity’s highs and lows through music hits home to a virtually unspeakable degree, and with that, Maybeshewill have quite possibly created the best album of their careers.

Review written by Michael Giegerich (Follow him on Twitter)

Mike Giegerich
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