We’ve been following Nick Everett ever since he impressed us in 2011 when he teamed up with fellow Halgonians Poplar Pines for the split album Rocky Top and he’s kept us hooting with joy ever since. In his latest project, Everett teams up with Evan Matthews (multi-east coast band member) and Eliza Niemi (New Love Underground) to make Mauno, an experimental pop-trio that don’t allow for drift or stagnation but instead roll their multi-faceted pop songs into one hazy trip.
Each song from their debut record Rough Master melts into one another. Receding into the night’s fog or slipping down deep into a warm bath, the tracks are so tonally cohesive the eight songs go by in the time, and with the same naturalness, it takes to close your eyes.
Quickly jumping off, “Reeling” joins bare-bones pop with more chaotic, reverb-heavy sections. As the song grows in sound and emotion, the howls of Everett in focus, “Reeling” drifts into “Manitoba,” a swirling and heady all-instrumental jam. From there it goes right into standout track “Nothing.” Released earlier this year as part of Mauno’s split-tape with Vulva Culture, “Nothing,” anchored by a heavy bass, bounces from your headphones/speakers. A vivid and brief recount of misery and the search for what is no longer there, “Nothing” is one of my favourite pop songs this year.
With a confident sounding Niemi on lead vocals, “Burn This,” the album’s slowest jam thanks to its almost opaque makeup of reverberation and lulling drum beat, feels like a slow-mo, eye-roll aimed at whatever it is that needs to be burned down. Mostly made up of clean guitar picking, “Champs,” like “Nothing,” is a moveable, psychedelic-infused triumph that shines brighter thanks to that recognizable cadence of Everett.
Rough Master is a smooth pop listen even on the roughest of days.
Top Tracks: “Nothing” ; “Champs”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)