Maverick, a young five piece hard rockin heavy metal band born in Belfast a very short two years ago and raised through the school of hard knocks, release their debut album ‘Quid Pro Quo’ the day after tomorrow (Friday November 28) through Massacre Records.
This is good old fashioned rock/metal album with all the classic ingredients – lust, sex and attitude. The production and mixing on this album is of a very high standard, but it keeps the raw aggressive sound that a good rock/metal album should have, making it dirty, sexy and fun.
Before I begin, I have to say that I followed this band for most of their career, and watched them come on in leaps and bounds from their humble beginings to achieve the heights of supporting some of their heroes, including Tigertailz, Winger and Y&T. Also I have become friends with them over the last wee while: they are dedicated to their music… but I will not tell any lies about this album.
‘Quid Pro Quo’ begins, as do their live shows, with their intro ‘Event Horizon’ and suddenly bursts into life with their trademark heavy guitar riffs and hypnotic drum beat . The first track ‘Snakeskin Sinner’ has a good heavy rock bouncy beat accompanied by the raw emotional vocals of David Balfour, that draw you in. My head can’t help nodding in time as I’m writing this. The lyrics on this track tell us about a guy who would do whatever it takes to get what he wants – yes, lie and cheat – but who never wins the final prize he so craves.
‘Paint By Numbers’, the first single and video (see below) to be released from the album, is all about people trying to ‘fit in’ and becoming zombies only to regret it and proving that people who fight to choose to be different can do so. “Talk like this, Smell like this, Why be yourself when you can be just like everybody else?”…. To hell with that attitude: I for one am glad that I choose to be me. Really who wants to be a sheep?
‘Got It Bad’ is a real female pleaser with its melodic, happy riff: I can see the girls dancing round the bedroom with a glass of something getting ready for a night out. When you listen to the words it tells us all about a guy’s regrets over his mistakes during his relationship while asking for a second chance to get things right. Come on girls, we have all wanted to hear these words from a guy… ‘It’s In Our Blood’ is another upbeat “yea-lets-go-for-it” track. Listening to this song, which tells of their struggle with their 9-5 day jobs and balancing this with trying to achieve their musical ambitions, you can tell the band take their music seriously – but they also loving having fun.
‘One More Day’ changes the mood of this album; although it still has the same overall feel and vibe of the album musically, this is the track lyrically that challenges the world’s politics. This tells the story of a man killed by faceless individuals and his families pain as people are killed by unknown’s hiding behind whatever religion. Personally, I hate organised religion. In my view, it’s a very brave move, but listening to the words it really does make you think about what the fuck is going on in the world in a very first person way. I have to say, though, to me it is the weakest track on the album, but still it’s a strong point of view in the lyrics which I do agree with.
The next track ‘Electric’… what can I say? My favourite track on the album! It has all the ingredients for a great rock song, with it’s dirty dancing (yes, I did say that!) sexy beat. Purely about sex, lust and that is all. It tells every guys weekend night out: guy sees girl, wants her and spins a yarn to get her into bed. It uses all the chat-up lines under the sun, with him just after one thing… a shag. To quote “Hey girl, let me treat you bad, and times a wasting…..”
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady’ starts with a very primal drum beat before the guitars kick in. Again, it’s another song about sexual lust – a theme this band seem to enjoy, lol! Again the vocals have that raw aggressive, sexual undertone. ‘Shackled’ has an hypnotic, tribal drum beat to begin with – but, when the guitars kick in it changes the mood of the song, bringing in the trademark upbeat rock style they make their own. It’s song about a guy being blamed in the wrong and protesting his innocence: Davy’s rustic, husky vocals are in full range throughout this one, and you can hear the pleading come out as he sings “I’ll scream as loud as I can tonight, oh God help me…”
‘Last Addiction’, with it’s heavy guitars and tight drums, again tells the story of of a love that has hit the rocks and a couple trying to save themselves from the inevitable. It paints the picture of pain filled and desperate man with his heart broke into tiny pieces. On ‘Side By Side’, while the guitars and drums are the base to this track, we hear Davy’s vocals take a quieter, softer tone: the emotion is still in there, but you can hear the range that this guy really has. This is a true brothers’ song: “Guys we are together, no matter what, as we take on whatever we have to face.”
Closer ‘Took The Night’ has a softer guitar riff to it. Lyrically telling us that it can only take one night to find “the one for me”, it’s another strong tight track that has my head bobbing along with.
Yes, I will say say that the theme behind the most of the lyrics of this album are about love lost and lust – but, hey, that’s most good rock songs! There are also a few that prick your conscence. Overall, this is an old fashioned rock album with a modern twist: yes. it’s very 80’s heavy metal influenced – but that’s Maverick. In my opinion this is one of the best debut albums I have heard in a long time. It’s hard rocking and fun. A real feel good opus.
Event Horizon / Snakeskin Sinner / Paint By Numbers / Got It Bad / In Our Blood / Quid Pro Quo (One More Day) / Electric / Rock ‘n’ Roll Lady / Shackled / Last Addiction / Side By Side / Took The Night
Recommended listening: Electric