Maruja
Knocknarea


4.5
superb

Review

by Tom R. CONTRIBUTOR (10 Reviews)
April 26th, 2023 | 91 replies


Release Date: 03/17/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sky is alive with thunder.

Modernist writer T.S. Eliot famously ended his 1925 poem The Hollow Men with the lines:

“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”


Knocknarea, the debut EP from jazzy Manchester post-punk upstarts Maruja, seems determined to prove this statement wrong. Because if this is said whimper, then by god no one on earth is ready for a bang.

Put simply, the twenty odd-minutes of material to be found here are the closest thing to the apocalypse you’ll experience in audio form this year. The recipe here is deceptively simple - take that dark British post-punk sound, thicken it up with Self Defense Family-esque post-hardcore, drench it in Godspeed You! Black Emperor-ish atmosphere, sprinkle in the dynamism of fellow new wave of British rock acts (black midi, BCNR, etc.) to taste. Sounds pretty good right? Now hear me out on this one, what if we took this exquisite concoction, and wrapped it around the most attention-grabbing saxophone performance this side of a John Zorn concert?

Yes, this isn’t just a “We’re a post-punk band but we don’t want to be called the next Interpol so we have a sax player chime in twice a song” gimmick, this is what actually building songs around an instrument that demands to be the focal point sounds like. And it sounds so damn good. Which isn’t to say that the other performances here are overshadowed, to the contrary in fact. The extensive use of guitar effects evolves past mere ***ery for the sake of ***ery into an essential component of the gargantuan soundscapes littered throughout the EP. Both bass and drums shine in a more supporting role, driving each track’s structural ebb and flow with a finesse rare to find so early in a band’s career. Strained, shouted vocals gain greater impact in their sparing use, emphasising the direct and deliberate lyrical focus that wastes no time faffing about with faux-poetic over-complication. But that saxophone, it just gets to you. Alternating between howls of despair, ugly-beautiful sobs, rising blood-pressure builds and everything in between, this is what pushes Maruja past being just an exciting young band, into one of those artists with the potential to be generational.

Truth be told, it’s taking me a lot not to just say *** it and declare this one of the best debut releases in years, and the major thing that’s stopping me is my belief that this band can, and hopefully will, impress me even more as they blossom like the first saplings after a forest fire. So for now, I will preemptively call this your chance to get on the hype train before it really takes off. Because whatever is next for Maruja, you sure as hell don’t want to miss the journey.



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user ratings (182)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2023


26621 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Woo finally got this review done - I was very busy and kept forgetting to actually get some writing done.



if anyone's interested, they have a fantastic 30 minute live set on youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73-vueGhMJk

parksungjoon
April 26th 2023


47235 Comments


Posd

someone
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2023


6725 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

found this by complete accident and it bangs like nobody's business

Sinternet
Contributing Reviewer
April 26th 2023


26621 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers park



Yeah saw this pop up on rym on release week with like a 4 average and 50 votes and thought oh, must be just another black misi new road wannabe. Boy was I wrong.

Pikazilla
April 26th 2023


30118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listened to two songs off this and they were incredible



shouldn't it be an ep tho

Snake.
April 26th 2023


25286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wanted to like this more but really couldn't find it any different than any other BCNRcore

MarsKid
Emeritus
April 26th 2023


21035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This rips harder than BC,NR tho, two different approaches from a similar scene.

ffs
April 26th 2023


6246 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very nice review other than the horrible "sounds like the apocalypse" cliche. sounds cool will check

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2023


1591 Comments


Great review sint, sounds cool

Araz
April 26th 2023


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So far it sounds great. Thanks for the review.

AffableMartyr
April 26th 2023


824 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Blind Spot is a hot track

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2023


5024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Color me hyped

Asdfp277
April 26th 2023


24458 Comments


maruja entienda que es usted en la tele !

hal1ax
April 27th 2023


15777 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so good

Zig
April 27th 2023


2747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

punk jazz

FuzzyThoughts
April 27th 2023


114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love it, I'm such a sucker for sax. Looking forward to a full album release!

MillionDead
April 27th 2023


5348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It doesn’t sound that very punk rock to my ear, but this is still really promising stuff out of that scene.

hogan900
April 27th 2023


3316 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This shit rocked my socks off!

Zac124
April 27th 2023


2833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, this is probably one of the best releases this year so far. The Tinker is incredible.

cylinder
April 27th 2023


2687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

best new music



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