My Majestic Star – I Haven’t Got It In Me (Hidden Shoal Recordings)

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Perth-based post-shoegaze band My Majestic Star’s preceding impressive ‘Too Late, The Day’ collection saw the group evolve into a full live band for the first time during the album’s accompanying tour with the addition of Miriam Braun, Stuart Medley and and Jamie Hamilton, alongside original founder member Chris Mason. It’s a development that exerts an immediately discernible influence upon the ten tracks gathered together on this third album ‘I Haven’t Got It In Me’, with their already broad sound palette widening even further. Perhaps most immediately noticeable is that cellist Miriam Braun contributes vocals alongside Mason for the first time here, but overall there’s an increased feeling of rawness and live energy being harnessed, in comparison to their previous recorded work. ‘Stranger’ begins proceedings with a slow wash of languid live drums and ebbing organ tones before bleeding out into mournful cello tones, chiming guitars and droning feedback, in an opener that certainly hints towards The Dirty Three’s slow, relentless burn as it ascends towards its emotional crescendo.

‘Crampling’ meanwhile sits closer to Sonic Youth’s tremolo-assisted glide as Mason and Braun’s dreamy intertwined vocal harmonies float out over lazy guitar bends, near-motorik drum rhythms and shimmering layers of guitar feedback, while ‘Like Cracked Glass’ provides a perfect illustration of the band’s increasingly raw live sound, as thunderous drums clatter beneath Mason’s reverbed-out vocal harmonies, and roaring overdriven guitar noise melds with Braun’s soaring cello. It’s ‘City Sleeps’ though that manages to offer up one of this record’s biggest highlights as well as highlighting Braun’s increased vocal role in the band, with her and Mason sharing the song’s melancholic lead vocal refrain as cello strokes snake their tendrils around warm droning organ tones, fuzzed out slowburn guitars and clattering, dry live drums. In this case, the experience gained by My Majestic Star performing as a live act in support of their preceding collection goes a long way towards making ‘I Haven’t Got It In Me’ their most satisfying album to date.

Chris Downton

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