Maruja, a UK quartet, defies easy genre classification. Their debut release, “Knocknarea,” showcases a fusion of jazz, post-metal, alternative metal, noise, and shoegaze. None of these genres can fully encapsulate the band’s unique musical style. The band incorporates guitar effects, distorted bass, chaotic drum fills, and, notably, the saxophone, which stands out prominently.
It is impossible to describe their music without mentioning the diverse and captivating vocals. The British accents add a distinct flavor to their sound. At times, the vocals are powerful and aggressive, while other moments evoke the beauty of the poetic spoken word. While it is challenging to draw direct comparisons to other bands, influences from “Godspeed! Black Emperor,” “For the first time” by “Black Country, New Road,” and/or “Model/Actriz” can be discerned.
The album possesses numerous captivating elements, including the live sound and occasional improvisations in the tracks. The rawness of the music is well complemented by a cohesive blend of instruments, resulting in a gripping atmosphere throughout the 20-minute duration of this delightful chaos. The dynamic range of the album keeps listeners engaged and focused, making it imperative to experience the release from its opening punch to the final moments of noisy drones. While exploring these four tracks, one can oscillate between feelings of dystopia and escapism. Some segments leave you breathless, while others offer moments of untouchable and comforting reflection.
One of the highlights of the album is the combination of simple yet emotive melodies, exemplified in tracks such as “Blind Spot.” The interplay between frantic drum tracks and these understated melodies is executed flawlessly.
Remarkably, the impact of language accents in music is quite striking. For instance, the British accent in “Kakistocracy” imbues the track with a heightened sense of aggression and rawness that would not be as pronounced with an American accent.
The EP undoubtedly demands significant attention from discerning music enthusiasts. It would be a delightful prospect to experience their live performance in the future.
Maruja – Knocknarea EP
Release Date: March 17, 2023
Album of the Month by Cuberat