Alternative Rock | Indie
blow off some steam with the help of alt-rock quartet st. maurice’s impressive ‘hagiography’
By Nathan Leigh
October 27, 2017
Most of the time, when you take 4 years to make an album, running through as many engineers and studios, that’s a sign that something’s off. For Spartanburg, SC’s St. Maurice though, it’s a testament to their commitment to fine-tuning their craft. Their debut LP Hagiography runs through sounds and styles, each song teasing a dozen disparate influences, yet it never sounds fussed over or disjointed. Their blend of post-hardcore instrumentation, improvised flights of fancy, blues and R&B rhythms, and sonic exploration is a complex journey few bands ever take, let alone on their debut full length.
Opening with the 7 minute “Untitled (Dusky Hued Lady Satan)” the band builds a heavy guitar line into what might be their biggest hook, before jamming out the coda. In other hands a 3 minute outro might be self-indulgent, but the band layers dense textures and sounds in a way that makes it a perfect introduction to their ethos as a band: don’t worry about where you think the song is going, you’re in good hands, it’ll be worth the trip.
Tracks like “No Man, No Name,” “Vash the Stampede” and “M.A.Y.O.” shine by showcasing the band at their most focused and driven, but the highlights often come when St. Maurice stretch out a little. The closing duo of “Show Me Your Soul” and “After Credits Scene” were written through heavy improvisation, turning out some of the best riffs the record has to offer, courtesy of twin guitarists Will Robbins and Geordon Tullis. It’s this kind of musical chemistry that underpins St. Maurice’s tauter songs given room to stretch out and breathe. As “After Credits Scene” rolls to the end, the song evaporates. A post-credit scene in a movie is to whet your appetite for the sequel, leaving things just a little unfinished. This song does the same. I’m buying my tickets to Hagiography II now, before the line starts.
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