The Maldives’ “Muscle for the Wing” Record Release Show
The final night of City Arts Fest at the Barboza/Neumos complex highlighted some of Seattle’s finest in local rock: Hobosexual and the Hounds to invite fist-pumping, “The Rolling Stones” to incite a scream-along, the Grizzled Mighty and My Goodness to incite the promise of morning whiplash. From second thirty of Davidson Hart Kingsbery’s set, pairs of Horses regulars were making space to twirl in the front ranks. It was just a good vibe all around and that translated into a top notch set from the recently reconfigured Maldives who that night were celebrating the release of their new LP Muscle for the Wing on Seattle label Spark and Shine Records (also home to Curtains for You, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo).
Sticking largely to the cuts from the record, songs they’ve been road testing for years, this night at Neumos still found the band as confident as I’ve seen, maybe ever. Faustine Hudson’s made the jump from moonlighting percussionist to full-time drummer and her balance of finesse and ability to rock out fits snugly into this band’s increasingly diverse range that pairs countryside ballads next to roadhouse ragers. Frontman Jason Dodson tipped his hat back and now commanded the center of attention as I’ve rarely seen.
It’s beyond me that these gents haven’t yet broken out onto a larger stage purely on the strength of their records. On the other hand this is a band of six and seven minute songs we in memeland no longer have the time for as we flit from cultural riff to musical hook and back again in an endless loop. The hooks on Muscle for the Wing aren’t a 10 second synth run, or participatory stomps and claps, or any momentarily catchy alliteration. Instead the Maldives are story-telling as much as playing music. Songs have defined beginnings and ends and thematically the songs are about an emotional journey instead of making any specific point or moral statement or ragging on a past lover. At their finest the hook blooms as you listen, swelling guitars and the color of your own experience building emotional peaks, the live versions of “Blood on the Highway” and show closer “Blood Relations” coming to mind first.
The Maldives and the Moondoggies team up for their annual Christmas shows this year once again happening in both Portland and Seattle in December. Mississippi Studios hosts the first show December 5th, followed by two nights at the Tractor Tavern December 7th and 8th. These shows come with our highest recommendation.