Maybird reveals psychedelia on ‘Wonderland’ | Music reviews

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  • WORK BY GRANT CONBOY
  • The cover of the album “Wonderland” released by Maybird on August 6, 2021.

Since releasing their second album, “Things I Remember From Earth” in 2019, Rochester Maybird’s indie rock band have built a reputation for creating kaleidoscopic and otherworldly soundscapes. On their latest record, “Wonderland”, the trio dig even deeper into their psychedelic roots, producing a concept album that brings Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” story to life.

On “Wonderland,” singer-songwriter Josh Netsky worked with his bandmates to tap deep into Alice’s perspective as she moved into another plane of existence. The first track on the record, “Down the Rabbit Hole”, is wordless and features a buzzing keyboard that lulls listeners into a trance state.

As the sounds of animal, cackling voices howl in the background and an eerie keyboard tone oscillates between frequencies. A soft voice begins to coo a melody, and a big “crash” ends the song, imitating the feeling of falling into a strange and unexpected dream.

The second track on the album, “Lost in Wonderland”, is introduced by a powerful bassline, coupled with the sound of synths that oscillate between comforting and disturbing the listener. Netsky’s voice is finally heard singing the lyrics: “Help me / I can’t find my way back / No direction seems right / All I hear are echoes.”

Wonderland by Maybird


On “The Queen Has No Heart,” listeners are transported through a psychedelic wormhole as spectral synths dance alongside an electronic drum beat that seems to slowly increase in volume. As Netsky sings the title phrase, trumpets and saxophones come in and out, providing unexpected texture to the song’s heavenly cacophony.

The first songs on the disc serve as a springboard to represent Alice’s transition from earth to “Wonderland”. On the fourth track, “Waiting for Something,” Netsky’s crisp and clear voice seems to signify that she has completely immersed herself in this new realm.

Wonderland by Maybird


On this unusual track, the vocals are rich and lush, offering an intoxicating effect reminiscent of the indie rock band Beach House. The bassline throughout “Waiting for Something” is sparse but distinctive, with a Tame Impala-esque quality.

Netsky delivers the lyrics: “Waiting for anything / And I have no doubts / I’ll wait forever / Until it happens.” The melody will likely stay in the listener’s head long after the song has stopped playing.

While Maybird turns more to the experimental with spoken word tracks including “Alice Loses Her Temper”, tracks like “When I See You in Wonderland” demonstrate the band’s skill at writing catchy indie rock songs and captivating.

On “When I see you in Wonderland”, xylophone sounds softly accompany the endearing words: “All the problems and the countless failures / Well they disappear into the void / When I see you.” Between moving and heartfelt lyrics and luminous piano parts that sway through the verses, Maybird evokes the emotion of pure and unadulterated happiness.

Wonderland by Maybird


With “Alice, Listen to the Birds Sing”, listeners are immediately greeted with words rich in images. Since his solo project as a teenager, Netsky has always proven himself to be a skillful blacksmith of words, bringing fantastic stories to life through song.

In this stripped-down piece, he takes on the role of Alice’s spiritual guide by singing: the moon / I’m trying to understand / The blue moon.

In the song’s final moments, a harpsichord sounds under a delightful ’70s-style guitar solo by Sam Snyder, which adopts a stylistic quality similar to that of T-Rex’s Marc Bolan.

There is an almost carnival feeling to “Wonderland”, but without any trace of campiness or dishonesty. Songs like “Love” contain such dreamy and imaginative lyricism that the listener can feel like they have been transported back in time to uncharted territory.

Other tracks like “Ice Skating through a Frozen City” are almost spiritual. As the melody of a synthesized horn introduces the song, opera vocals flush the background, creating a moralizing atmosphere alongside Netsky’s provocative lyrics, “There is nothing for you / There is nothing for you. There’s no one for me / I’m skating through a frozen city. ”

While the first songs on “Wonderland” were meant to provide Alice (and the listener) with an entry point into a new plane of existence, the last two songs seem to function as a path back to reality.

Wonderland by Maybird


On “Open Your Eyes”, the instrumentation draws on Snyder’s elegant acoustic guitar parts to an electric-symphonic mix of distorted vocals and dizzying drum tracks. Once all the elements have merged and the instrumentation is at its peak, the song stops abruptly – mimicking the feeling of waking up after a long night’s sleep.

On the closing track, “I’ll miss you when I wake up,” Netsky’s words are appropriate: “I wonder where you’ve been / I’ll miss you when I wake up.”

Closing the album with Carroll’s own prose, Netsky reads: “So she sat down with her eyes closed, and half believed herself in Wonderland, even though she knew she just had to reopen them. , and everything would turn into a dull reality. ”

While “Wonderland” is clearly an album whose spirit is tied to Carroll’s novel, the disc’s messages are relevant to anyone facing the disorientation of reintegration into society. For many over the past year, the story of a girl immersed in a dystopian reality may resonate more than ever before. “Wonderland” skillfully captures the essence of Alice de Carroll and creates a world of its own that listeners will want to continue to visit.

Maybird’s “Wonderland” is currently available to stream exclusively on Bandcamp.

Emmarae Stein is a freelance writer for CITY. Comments on this article can be directed to [email protected]

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