'Barbary' - Maine

Floating somewhere between reality and a dreamlike world, Maine's debut album is free-flowing. Not restricting itself by structure or genre, it's a little difficult to pin down its key points. At times it's curiously comforting, and at others, it aims to unsettle the listener. It's dark, but not like a dimly lit back alley, instead like navigating a forest of towering pine trees at night. Beautifully abstract.

It's a self-described ambient project, yet contrasts a lot of the ambient the listener might be used to. It isn't background music for an airport, nor a futuristic minimal soundscape. Compositionally, it is layered and dense, with warm strings playing a prominent role throughout and softly plucked acoustic guitar dancing between echoey distortion. It opts to take you on a journey rather than cutting itself short which lends it an artistic feel, it's done earnestly however as there is an air of experimental enjoyment.

Whilst tracks like the opener 'Cloudburst' and 'Last Goodbye' lean heavily into instrumentation, there are some times when vocals take the foreground. Notably, 'The Brood's spoken word fits very nicely into the world of Maine, and 'Flood' has a feeling that's reminiscent of early 'The Microphones' with its unpolished but texturally huge sound.

All in all 'Barbary' is an introduction to the curious world of Maine. One which is complex and painterly. It's dark and haunting but no doubt conjures beautiful images as you listen. It's a really interesting album by a really interesting band. Give it a listen!

Personal Favourites: 'The Brood', 'New Acoustic/Fall'

Listen here: