Screaming Maldini are a bit different to other bands.
But, this is 2013: we’re so post-modern, so able to express ourselves as individuals that surely the term ‘different’ has been transformed into some mainstream fad – a way of drawing attention to just how oh-so controversial you are. Well… perhaps. But, if exhausting cynicism can be put aside for a moment then please, just accept the joy it gives me to say that Screaming Maldini really are rather unique.
For example, the first twinkling yearnings of ‘The Awakening’ usher in a record which often exudes a bounding enthusiasm which is disappointingly absent from so many musical offerings nowadays. Lead vocalists Nick Cox and Gina Walters proceed to trade lines effortlessly in a joyous manner reminiscent of an early Los Campesinos: this is their ace in the pack. So often on their eponymously titled debut do the Sheffield sextet give the impression that they are quite simply making music for sheer enjoyment – none of this staring at the floor waiting for the crowd to ‘get’ them malarkey. Rather, they package their enthusiasm into several wondrous nuggets of pop-genius.
‘Life in Glorious Stereo’ features finely honed harmonies aplenty, as well as displaying the band’s penchant for a surprise or two with an unexpected interlude allowing pause for breath part-way through the song; ‘Secret Sounds’ offers up more surprises, as sudden key changes frequently snatch the attention from a relentless rhythm. Recent single ‘Summer Somewhere’ is a rapturously uplifting highlight and, along with ‘Minor Alterations’, sees Gina present herself as a vocalist of enviable talent, but fortunate enough to be part of a band capable of making her far more interesting than the plethora of solo-balladeers attempting to tug your heartstrings from behind a piano time and again (and again and again…).
When the pace lets up, fortunately the quality doesn’t, with ‘The Dreamer’ and ‘The Albatross’ an absorbing combination which could soundtrack a hazy scene from black and white era Hollywood – the way the former, in particular, bursts into life means that it manages to sound timeless, yet intriguingly asymmetrical, all at once.
So, whilst some may be sceptical about describing them as ‘different’, or ‘unique’ or whatever else, what this album makes plain is that Screaming Maldini are certainly something special. On a record full of highlights, ‘…Snowflake…’ stands out in particular: a captivating few minutes during which the listener is gently urged to “slow down, slow down,” before the melody takes them on an enchanting, breath-taking journey. It is a snapshot of the heights this band are capable of hitting, and reaffirms that they are a delightful set of talents worth screaming about.
Words by Lewis Parker
You can get your hands on the album and get information about Screaming Maldini’s upcoming tour at www.screamingmaldini.info.