19 May 2022

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Mako Road - Album Review: Stranger Days

12 Aug 2021 // A review by Cathy Elizabeth

4-piece indie rock band Mako Road are back once again, this time with their first full-length album. Their sound is an interesting blend of indie and funk, layered with reverb and delay-heavy guitars, creating that classic kiwi “dub” feel, but with a live-jammed garage-band twist.

Kicking the album off is the lush groove of Go to Bed; a track that first eases you into it and makes you feel totally comfortable, before switching things up when it picks up the pace. There is a beautiful guitar motif that sounds very much like Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game, before the transition into the more upbeat end of the song, which is really well done. The funky bassline and wah pedal totally take it from there, giving the track some real forward movement and a travelling feeling.

In Surfing on Mars I can hear the echoes of the band’s Christchurch roots; progressive heavy funk grooves over a disco beat, which remind me of the likes of AHoriBuzz; that loose-but-tight live-jammed sound. With danceable tracks like this, it’s easy to understand why they are festival favourites! Helicopter is another funky dance track, and I’m getting a definite new-wave vibe from this one, which works.

Peeling back the pace comes Velvet Pinata. I love the creative use of accents in this track, and the simple literal bass lines that drive the song along. But this song goes somewhere more surprising and interesting in the chorus, bringing a more clean and assertive sound to the fore. I would have liked to hear more of this kind of clarity, to showcase the vocal a bit more.

The album is perhaps a little reverb-heavy for my liking on the whole, but I’m guessing that is deliberately the guitar sound they are going for; that open-air live feel. I was impressed with the guitar work on the whole album, from Don’t Keep Me Waiting, with its clever show-reel ending, to Lost My Tongue which throws in some great bass work and a solo for good measure. I get big Dire Straits energy from Stranger Days, a track which did truly put me on the lazy buzz.

Finishing the album off with a bang is Anywhere You’d Like To Go; a feel-good party track that has great dynamics and is very catchy. The ending is sure to have the crowd whipped into a frenzy, with its multiple key changes and tempo shift winding up to a climactic finish. I imagine this song would be a lot of fun to play live!

Mako Road are currently touring the album around New Zealand and Australia (covid-willing!) through August and September, so keep an eye out for them coming your way. This hard-working band have built themselves a huge fan base, and this album puts eight more arrows in their quiver which I’m sure will make their mark!

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Mako Road

Indie pop-rock outfit Mako Road from Christchurch, recently surfaced onto the NZ music scene with a string of self-produced releases. Their debut track The Sun Comes Up made top 5 in the NZ and AUS Spotify Viral 50's, and recently ticket over 1 million Spotify streams.

Influenced by good times and summer grooves, Mako Road sets the vibe for sun season and this shines through in their electric live set. Following a busy 2018 playing sold out shows around New Zealand, their next EP Local Safari will be released November 30, with an extensive Australasian tour to follow.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mako Road


Stranger Days
Year: 2021
Type: Album

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