Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading and dismissing the (as of yet) failed pop culture experiment that is Bill Simmons new web site, Grantland. The only apt comparison I’ve come up for the bland, boring content is to place the collection of authors alongside any of the many failed “supergroups.”
As with most talent consolidations, the initial excitement and promise quickly disappears when egos and unique ideas fail to mesh the way people expect and no one wants to step on toes or force focus. Sadly the end result is considerably less than the sum of the parts and parties agree to go their separate ways. Honestly, is anyone actually excited about SuperHeavy?
Admittedly, calling Masterchef a super group is hyperbole that would make even the freshest of fresh-faced bloggers blush (especially when you consider hypem shows one review for their last record), but considering Alex Hungtai and Adrian Teacher are the creative forces behind two of my favorite bands (Polaris Long Listed Dirty Beaches and Apollo Ghosts, respectively), a second LP from the duo sets the bar at a towering height.
Simply put, Mae Mae is another moody, atmospheric instrumental affair laced with dark emotions and noise filled tangents. The record succeeds because it’s a spontaneous meshing of ideas that capture a snapshot in time as opposed to a forced premise. “Canadian Palm” opens the brief EP, and somehow without changing gears over the four and a half minute, drone affair, you can feel the duo’s talons pierce your skin and each subsequent ideas holds up just as well. Once again the sonic collages seem like they were developed deep in Alex’s mind (the minimal structure of “The Isle Of Dead Men” could have been written years ago as Alex moved in and out of faceless crowds in remote locations), but you feel Adrian’s endless energy throughout the affair, especially when the pace is picked up (“Uncle Tony Drinks Coffee” and the explosive “Ken Lum”).
Saving the best for last, the duo’s understated, shadow walking gives way to the confident pomp of “Mounties and Indians, 1989″, a song that struts with the same swagger that Alex delivered so perfectly on Badlands. Classification be damned; Mae Mae is the result of two musicians willing to collaborate freely and test the limits of their already well documented creativity. Simmons and music lovers alike, should pay attention.