This is a review of "Did you hear me?" recorded by The Mavis Seed. The review was written by Jimmy Horrigan in 2013.
Hearing last year's split release "Three Peaks EP" led me to discover the work of a tireless bunch of like-minded local musicians. The Matt Burnside Band featured and Matt has since worked with some more folky folks under The Mavis Seed moniker. This release is their second album and a final salute before everyone moves on to new projects. So before Matt & co. savour the cud of different pastures now's the perfect time to try this album and see what it's all been about.
This is a gimmick-free zone and after hearing a myriad of dynamic and experimental touches last weekend at Beacons part of me longed to hear something with less density; something more traditional. The world needs pioneers for sure but sometimes all it takes to make it turn is the labour of talented folk stringing and weaving together some beautiful notes in the right order. And I think that's one of the best words I can use to describe this all too short collection of songs: beautiful. There's a warm and rustic welcome on each of the eight tracks that's hard to skirt round. The simplicity of the arrangements, the quality of the production and the vibrancy of the melodies are like a revitalising walk on a fresh spring morning. Thirty five minutes of melodic uplift and you'll be done here but the clarity and intimacy create a lasting flavour of something more pronounced.
I won't try to pick a favourite track from a relatively short long player and honestly, there isn't a bum one on here. I love a sing-a-long and after a couple of plays many of the songs have that about them but maybe more so on "Traffic Lights" and "Travelling Man". Then again the vocals on "Hideaway" have a lusty power evoking ballads of a soft-rock variety and classic soul tunes all rolled in to one. So now I don't know now if I prefer the songs I join in with or the ones where I just sit back and enjoy. "Did you hear me?" is of a softer tone but rousing all the same and this shows another side to The Mavis Seed's sound and soul. Less party - more feeling. But that's good song writing in the folk sense for you. It doesn't have to get your toe tapping to have you gripped. "Still Waters" on the other hand manages to make me think of sad and happy things at the same time while being a toe-tapper too so I guess the guys have every base covered.
As a farewell to their time as The Mavis Seed this is a gem of a collection. It costs a fiver, which when you think about it, doesn't get you much these days, so you should spend a fiver wisely and get yourself a copy here http://themavisseed.bandcamp.com/