MAE - Multisensory Aesthetic Experience (New-CD) ROCK
- New Factory Sealed CD
- Digipak with 10 Page Booklet
- Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
- Album length: 11 tracks: 53 minutes, 56 seconds<
- Release Date: November 30, 2018
Following in the wake of the six-song extended player, 3.0, Multisensory Aesthetic Experience finds the men of Mae fashioning a full-length offering around five of the EP's cuts along with six new tracks. The 3.0 project, while intermittently fetching, was nevertheless hampered by just enough weaker entries to render it one of the band's more uneven undertakings. To its credit, the latest release does fare a bit better, given that its longer run time allows the more subtle slower pieces to stretch out a bit more and truly sink in. And, to their credit, faster numbers like "The Overview" and "Let It Die" are as melodically beautiful and gripping as anything the band has ever produced. The trouble, though, is that there aren't enough cuts like these to vault Experience anywhere near the lofty heights achieved by the band's still-superior earliest efforts. Long-time fans would still do well to investigate the album given that the group's compositions do tend to get somewhat better with age. For everyone else, though, the best approach, ironically enough, would be to string the current record's five or six best tracks together into an EP's worth of truly engaging material.
Musically, the album is breathtaking. It soars in unexpected places and is just subtle enough in others. It’s constantly interesting and keeps everyone guessing. The opener, “Kaleidoscope”, is stunning with its use of strings. The creative direction they took with the composition of the album is what makes me enjoy it so much. It’s what I imagine outer space sounds like. This is why it’s self-titled. Mae’s ability to take a sonic concept and fulfill it to its highest capacity is something to behold.
I wish they had done the same with the lyrics. Whether it’s just weak lyrically or it’s personal, is up to each listener. The comments on YouTube are equally convincing for either side. It’s not quite what I’ve been used to from Mae, either from The Everglow or the other tracks I’ve heard throughout the years. There are tracks that I don’t feel this way about, like “5 Light Years”, which obviously plays to the space theme I mentioned before, or “Let It Die”, which sounds like the old Mae. “The Overview”, however, is a strange sort of spoken word that totally brings us back down and, for me at least, slows it down.
I’d have to say that “Simple Words” is probably my favorite track here, when it comes to the less experimental side of things. It sounds like an Everglow B-side, and I know that’s probably not a great reason to name a track your favorite, but that’s really my only reason. I’ve always loved the way Mae deals with the topic of young love and this is a wonderful embodiment of that.
This was a difficult album to write about because of how disjointed it seems to be. On one hand, we have what’s probably the finest example of what Mae is capable of as musicians and producers. On the other hand, their songwriting is rusty. My reasoning is that they figured that staying close to home lyrically while letting the music transport us would be the best bet to keep the album somewhat grounded. But it doesn’t really work, because we all know Mae is better than that. They’ve never been ones to shy away from loftier goals than what they’ve achieved in past releases. What I love so much about their old stuff is the whimsy they poured into each aspect, and that amount of effort isn’t quite present enough on what should be their defining album.
- Kaleidoscope (5:04)
- Sing (3:37)
- The Overview (3:03)
- 5 Light Years (4:18)
- No Promises (10001001001100) (4:51)
- You Fall When You Hesitate (6:08)
- Our Love is a Painted Picture (6:04)
- A Race for Our Autonomy (6:06)
- Let It Die (4:36)
- Simple Words (4:12)
- Flow (feat. Tim Fain) (5:57)
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