29 Nov 2022

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Max Hill - Album Review: M.H.

23 May 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Max Hill (they/them) originally started as Slow Rage, which became a duo with the addition of drummer Sam Hatley, building quite a reputation in the all-ages scene. However, like many other musicians they decided to make the most of the first lockdown in 2020 and started work on what would turn out to be a totally solo album recorded in their bedroom.

It has taken two years of hard work, but finally the album is available, and one can immediately understand why it has taken so long as this never sounds like a solo release but rather as if a full band has been involved. There is acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, keyboards, percussion, bass, vocals, and a real layering of the music which sounds much more like a full band than one person doing this in their bedroom. There is a feeling of melancholy which pervades this release, with Max working in an indie vein which sometimes drops into shoegaze, but others more upbeat. They have a real knack of bringing everything together in a manner which feels organic and worked together in a rehearsal room as opposed to just a single performer, and one honestly expects there to be at least four or five musicians involved. There are times when the guitar is clean, others where it is heavily distorted and fuzzed, while Hole In The Wall is based solidly on a repeated piano riff which is a real earworm. 

This is one of those albums which is something of a grower, as it wasn’t until the second time through that I really started to get into it, and it was the third playthrough that a lot of the inner naïve beauty started to shine through. There are infectious hooks, and more than a hint of The Modern Lovers in what they are doing, weaving that Jonathan Richman-type spell which was so pervasive 40+ years ago. The use of nuances, such as on Crimson Red, are incredibly effective, providing an additional layer of polish which lifts the songs into new levels.

It may have taken a few years for Max to record the album on their own, and it will be interesting to see if the next one is in the same vein or if they bring a band together. That there will be another album is surely not in doubt.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Max Hill

Max Hill is a Musician/Songwriter based in Auckland, New Zealand. They began releasing music on Bandcamp in early 2018, mostly for the purpose of experimentation. In 2019, they started Slow Rage, which they later continued as a two piece with drummer Sam Hatley.

In 2021, they began making waves in the local underground all ages scene, slowly piecing together what would become their album The Low-Down. They received a great amount of support for this album, and are now currently working on a Covers EP, which will be released later this year.

In January 2022, Max announced that they would be starting up a new solo project under their own name. They released their album M.H. soon after, which they started working on in lockdown of 2020.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Max Hill


Year: 2022
Type: Album

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