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Single Review: A.Maxwell – Hyde

As you may have noticed over the course of the last month I have taken a bit of a liking to a Scottish band called Junebug. There is a very good reason for this and that reason is that they make fantastic, original, interesting music. One of the important cogs in this very talented musical wheel is guitarist and keyboard player Aonghas Maxwell, or for the purposes of this experiment A. Maxwell.

Hailing from Glasgow 21 year old Maxwell, not content with being part of one of the hottest unsigned bands out right now has been busy putting together a solo project. Now I can’t lie when I see that a member of a band has launched a ‘solo project’ or ‘side project’ I take a sharp intake of breath and fear the worst. This is because in 7 out of 10 cases these projects fall into 1 of 2 depressingly rubbish categories.

The first of these is normally if the lead singer branches out on their own and the scenario generally speaking is this… singer writes crap songs, band don’t want to use them because they are crap, singer and their ego decide that they know best so launch ‘solo/side project’ to release crap material, the project flops because as is plainly obvious the songs are crap.

The second category is that a band member starts to get ideas above their station. They forget that they play guitar/bass/drums in the band because that’s what they are good at and think that they will have a crack at this singing and song writing lark because frankly how hard can it be. The same scenario as outlined in category 1 then plays out. The common theme you might have picked up on is that in general side/solo projects normally produce rubbish music for us fans and are used only to stroke the ego of the person making said rubbish music.

So yeah, the upshot of all this is that when A. Maxwell emailed me with this track I was a little concerned. However and it is a massive however, there are 3 out of 10 of these side projects that do produce very good music and I am massively relieved and pleased to announce that this is one of them.

At its centre ‘Hyde’ is one man and his guitar, there isn’t masses of studio wizardry or a song writer trying too hard, it’s brilliance lies in its simplicity. The vocal is rough around the edges in all the right ways, and the guitar work skips along nicely. The middle section of the track is totally stripped back until the guitar returns accompanied with random vocal ramblings and only after this do things get back completely back on track. But this little excursion is a great addition and marks the song out from the ‘2 verses plus a chorus’ crowd.

The main aim of a single such as this as well as obviously trying to provide the world with quality music is to act as a preview to what will follow. In this case that is an EP by the ‘First Species’ which is due in the coming months, and I have to say that here both boxes are well and truly ticked.

‘Hyde’ is uncomplicated, understated but undeniably brilliant. Beautifully rough around the edges and thankfully without that overly commercial polish, it hits all the right notes. There is also loads of replay value so you can keep hitting repeat to your hearts content without getting bored stiff.

As a result there’s only one question left… when’s that EP coming out?

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