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on 14 July 2011
Although it's only 31 minutes long, there's 11 superior songs of synthpop on this album that you'll find it difficult to better anytime soon. This is a cracking elegy to the art of musical brevity, fused with some powerful emotions due to Maus's captivating performance.

Originally a part of the Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti lineup, Maus is also a professor of political language, but took time to study composing as well. It shows, because "We must become" is littered with glorious hooks, middle eights, soaring choruses and most importantly, a wide range of musical textures, indicative of someone with a proper training in the art of composition. At the centre of it though is Maus's own voice - an addictive mix of Ian Curtis's baritone and idiosyncratic character. Add some compelling and addictive vocal refrains, from the staccato spasm of "Pussy is not a matter of fact" to the slow ballad of "Cop Killer" and the result is a varied, addictive and vigorous album. He is never less than compelling at all times, although it must be said that his breathless political polemic in the press release seems a bit out of sync with the simplicity of the pop album.

Initially it's not easy to escape the comparison of Joy Division. "Quantum Leap" sounds like an outtake of "Shadowplay", but this isn't a rehash of Factory records devotion - Maus's programming of this album means that you swoop between many themes and sounds. Album opener "Streetlight" is suffused with a harpischord-style arpeggio and glacial echo that sets the scene for half an hour of elegant, energetic electronic pop music.

There's time for beauty too - "Hey Moon" rolls off Maus's tongue with a slickness that isn't in line with some of the lo-fi elements elsewhere, making the contrast all the stronger. "Keep Pushing On" has some contrived tape hiss, yet the melodies and his vocal presence brush aside any concerns.

Like all great pop, close inspection often means that you can't see the woods for the trees. However Maus has cleverly kept this album brief, loading it with hooks, key changes and anthems that will have you returning to it time after time, resurrecting the strength of early synthpop's direct strength and wrapping it in a cloak of his own identity. I can't think of an album in a long time that does what all great music should do - make you feel ALIVE.
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
John Maus is a strange one. This is music which resists being
nailed-down to any particular genre. It leaps and dives and
dithers all over the place. It just won't settle down and behave!
Just when you think you've "got it" it slips off somewhere else.
This is a good thing. It keeps us on our toes and guessing hard.

One moment he's coming on strong like a latter-day Jim Morrison
('...And The Rain') and in the next The Stranglers seem to have
been reincarnated in a zoot suit and fedora ('Quantum Leap')!
'Hey Moon', however, is a simple love song of such radiant beauty
that you feel your heart going all soft and mushy as you listen.
'Matter Of Fact' wouldn't sound out of place as an alternative
theme tune to The Munsters (terrific bats-in-the-belfry organ!)
and 'Head For The Country' is curiously disco-friendly in a three-
legs-on-the-dancefloor kind of way; a little bit Zappa, a whole lot
dizzy mirrorball! (Are you following me here?!) This is big fun stuff!

Final track 'Believer' is a cracking anthem built on pounding bass
and shimmering synth. The fact that you can hardly understand a word
doesn't matter a jot. Mr Maus signs off with a tip-top magical flourish.

Bizarre never tasted so good.

Recommended.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 July 2011
I bought this on a hungover whim. Yeah, I'd heard a lot of good things about it, but I wasn't expecting it to be so damn enjoyable. It's a real grower too, getting better & better after every listen. Very catchy, very fun albeit in a slightly gloomy way and just very, very good, lo-fi tinged synth-pop. Highly recommended.
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on 13 October 2011
Noticed there were no reviews for this so just wanted to quickly mention how great it is. At times redolent of Joy Division, Gang of Four, OMD, Felt and a load of other artists that you should have in your collection, and yet it also manages to sound very contemporary. Give it a go, superb.
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on 9 February 2013
Doomy synthpop it may be, but it is catchy stuff. Highlights: 'Believer' and 'Quantum Leap'. Almost accessible compared to his earlier work.
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on 5 March 2013
I came across John Maus in London and became a real fan of his music. I hope will do a lot of records more

Wuli
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on 25 December 2012
the son of one of my friends recommended this, and it is good to listen to. a small discovery for me
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on 3 January 2015
Brilliant, sublime album.
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