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maven - mary ep

Like most people who somehow ended up listening to "Industrial" music in the early 90's, I ended up owning a couple of Nitzer Ebb albums (and a 12", even) - It was Control I'm Here that did it for me, I seem to remember. Must dig it up and give it a spin. Meanwhile, Douglas McCarthy and Bon Harris went their separate ways, though it looks like they'll be doing a reunion tour in support of a new retrospective compilation called Body of Work a little later this year.

Maven, then, is the output of Bon Harris (along with Andy Troy and Biff Sanders) who filled in his time working with bands like the Smashing Pumpkins (on Adore) and Marilyn Manson (on Holy Wood). An actual release seems to have been a long time coming, going by chatter on the band's web forum and elsewhere. Having signed with Warner label Cordless late last year, though, they've finally released a 3-track EP (or "cluster", in Cordless' words) on iTunes, Napster and Rhapsody.

Mary starts us off and it's the strongest track of the three with its brooding basslines, self-assured delivery and high-powered chorus. It's definitely the kind of song that's looking for an action film with angular camera shots. The Candidate (for which a video was apparently shot way back in late 2000, but never got a proper release) settles for being a slightly quieter but angrier spoken word piece with Bon casting himself as an archetypal slimy politician, with a swampy city-sounding backline groove floating around his words. Silverbirds brings up the rear, slowing things down with a more dreamy "why can't we all get along?" angle (get it? silver birds?), complete with computer gamey noises in the background.

It's not a bad EP - over on iTunes, at least, it's priced at the standard AUD$1.69 each, or $5.07 for the lot - there doesn't seem to be any discounting on iTunes for buying a whole EP, looking at this one and a handful of other EPs. I'd love to see this happen, though (does Rhapsody or Napster do this? Napster doesn't seem interested in lowly Mac users and Rhapsody politely pointed out that I'm not in the US) - maybe somebody doesn't like, say, Silverbirds enough to want to spend another $1.69 on it but if they got it for free or, more likely, at a reduced price if you bought all 3 at once, perhaps it'll grow on them over time (as some b-sides do)? On the other hand, it is only five bucks, but how does one push the concept of it being a cohesive unit (cluster, EP, whatever) in this pay-per-song world, especially if it's only being released digitally? I'm curious to see how this "cluster" plan goes.

You can hear the title track, Mary, over on the band's website, as well as a few other tracks (including Silverbirds) on their myspace page.

(disclaimer: I was actually given this EP to review.)

* 09:02 * music · comments (0)


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