Moving Forward

Written by: TL on 20/02/2014 10:33:05

Maisetto is the new name of a young quartet from Manchester who were formerly called Odd Squad, and "Moving Forward" is their debut album which they put out a few weeks ago. On their facebook the band proclaims a love for staples of the modern British scene like Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox and Enter Shikari, but I don't make it far into "Moving Forward" before I get the feeling that there are more relevant comparisons to be drawn to pancontinental contemporaries, like the eager pop-rockers in bands like There For Tomorrow, Cartel and Built On Secrets.

The instrumental parts sound like they've been gleaned from the tool sheds of countless just-below-mainstream bands from the past decade (Taking Back Sunday comes to mind here and there) and put together in a budget production that attempts to make local circuit money sound like arena circuit power. The rhythm guitar is crunchy in the front while the lead slashes sparkling notes in the back, and to the band's (or producer's) credit everything is mixed rather pleasantly, you'll just be hard pressed to spot something that sounds like a novel idea or a strong flash of character in a soundscape that's sadly somewhat generic.

A straight-forward instrumental section can of course always be lifted by a striking vocal performance, but unfortunately for Maisetto, things aren't above the average in this department either. Guitarist/singer Tom Whitehead sounds try-hard in the way short-lived emocore bands did in the genre's shallowest, mid-00s day, and while he navigates his melodies without any overtly blatant missteps, his range of expression is far to narrow to carry the day on its own, and for some reason that likely has to do with the production, there are dozens of small notes where you find yourself questioning whether it would've sounded better with a bit more or a bit less pitch correction.

The best thing that can be said about "Moving Forward" is, regretably, that it is closer to being an alright record than the number of drawbacks I've listed would suggest. Underneath it all, the songwriting dynamics do actually sound like the lads have at least half a grasp of what they're doing, enough so to encourage me to sign up to review the album in the first place. The piano on "Watch The World" isn't half bad nor is the punchy signature riff in "Meant To Be", but these are located deep into the record at tracks eight and nine and frankly my attention is struggling to escape elsewhere by then. It's not exactly an epiphet you'd want of course, that your record is "only almost alright", but it simply doesn't take more that three or four tracks before I consistently find myself wishing for "Moving Forward" to just end already, and at twelve tracks that's too generous a serving of mediocrity. Discerning listeners will have "moved onwards" long before that.


Download: Meant To Be, Watch The World
For The Fans Of: There For Tomorrow, Cartel, Built On Secrets

Release Date 31.01.2014

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