Hailing from Montreal, the five-person alternative rock band Mak showcase their Radiohead and Coldplay influenced sound in their nine track self-titled album, MAK. I was unable to fully appreciate this album, maybe because of my prolonged exposure to club music and indie pop.
Overall, the entirety of MAK seems to be disjointed, with bits of indie, rock, country, electronic and soul overlapping each other to the point where you’re not even sure which genre is being explored. Instruments like piano, acoustic guitar, drums and the occasional electronic effects are tangled up in a state of disarray.
In “Young Lads,” the electronic beats did not pulsate quite in time to the piano melody. Although maybe this was intentional, it seemed jarring. In “Stab Me,” the static effects and metal twangs of the electric guitar made what sounded like noise, not music.
There were, however, several redeeming factors in the album. It started to pick up with the track “TV,” which presents an impressive harmonization of the band’s vocals. It added a nice perk to contrast the slow start of the album, since the first few tracks gave off a more doleful feel. This variety demonstrates that Mak is not content to stay within traditional boundaries, rather they are bold enough to cross borders and make music that is entirely their creation. Additionally, “Reverse” is a fusion of drums and a slow piano melody that provides easy listening — the kind of sensual music that lingers in the background while you enjoy a nice candle-lit dinner.
Perhaps their most satisfactory song is their last track, “Them.” Lead vocalist Eugenie Jobin-Tremblay shows off his impressive vocal chords. His John Mayer-esque lazy croon is enough for anyone to melt in a happy pool of soul music. If Mak had converged on that soul a bit more, perhaps they would have found more success with this album.