Maverick, the forthcoming album (out May 24th) from Toronto's Sarah Shafey is certainly one of those albums. It's not always fundamentally sound, but it is always a fun, unapologetic love letter to 1990's grunge and alternative rock.
From the introduction of the lead track "Swim" and its "Cherub Rock" rumble, you know you're in for an honest tribute. As someone whose teenage years coincided with the height of grunge rock, I was instantly hooked. Shafey channels Celebrity Skin-era Courtney Love on "Suzie Q".
Despite often overwhelming buzzsaw guitars, there are often some power pop flickers that shine through. That's the case on "Lady". It is even moreso on "Mission Control", a track with razor-sharp hooks that actually sounds like more of an update on the Go-Gos or Blondie than it does L7 or Babes In Toyland. The two elements crash together on "Paranoia", as lines are delivered like Bikini Kill at one moment and Elastica the next.
Power pop is traded for just sheer power on "Foot In Mouth Disease". The aggressive hard rock pulverizes any hint of melody.
The album is capped off by "The Infinite Possibility of Sea Feet", a playful near-lullaby that is definitely the black sheep of this set.
All of this makes Maverick a tricky album to assign a rating to. It's not a great record, but it should be able to win itself loyal audience of folks who are salivating to hear this style of music once again.
Best tracks: "Mission Control", "Paranoia"
Track listing for Maverick:
- Suzie Q
- Mission Control
- Foot In Mouth Disease
- A Leisurely Pace
- Holy Grail
- Eat This Bullet
- The Infinite Possibility of Sea Feet