With Signs of Life, Maida Vale sets the nail for their claim as a Great American Band. This sophomore release reflects a maturity and a commitment to making good music regardless of market trends. From the gritty opening of Jordan to the raw blues of Walk Resurrection, this is a group of men exploring and executing the primal instinct of making music.
And their instincts are true. The lyrics on this record are personal, thoughtful, honest. The recurring theme of falling short and brokenness, driven home in the repetitive, unrelenting hook of Never Been Good, meets a consistent counterbalance of grace and hope; it’s not always overt, but it’s there. The overall message of this record resonates with the title track – it shows signs of life, tinged with a hope that is keenly aware of the human condition.
The instrumental layers on each track offer tasty tidbits of bluesy rock and roll. From harmonica fills to luscious guitar fills, the band creates sound washes with rhythmic accents that set the stage for each story. The banjo – yes, banjo! – links an undeniable appreciation for deep country roots that gives each song a sense of history.
Maida Vale makes music that is fresh and clean, yet firmly planted in the raw roots of all that is good about American music. To listen to this record is to trace some history; songwriters for years have offered up their hearts to the world as they work out their salvation within the context of four minutes of rhythm and melody. This band enjoys the benefit of great chemistry, superior talent and applied skill and effort, and it shines through in this record. You’ll listen again and again, uncovering each layer of applicable meaning. And maybe dance a little, too.
Great record from an excellent band.
The record is currently only available as a digital download. Check it out here; the best $10 you’ll spend today. Promise.