Time and again we keep being told they don’t make bands like they used to. I’m really never sure exactly what people mean by that but have to assume that what is meant is that those saying it may be quite blinkered in their choice of listening. Come on, admit it, we can all sometimes be a little too tempted to stick with what we know, can’t we? I freely admit to times when my internal filters have caused me to make listening decisions on the basis of a logo or a “for fans of …” description – although I am much less prone to doing that these days – go on, try it you will surprise yourself. What am I blethering on about, I hear you cry? Well, Maverick were a bit of a case in point – pointy, 80s style logo and , if I’m honest, a deluge of albums crossing my desk every day so some do get missed occasionally (so sorry but until I find a time machine I am stuck with the standard 24 hours in my day too). Well, that is until a good friend of mine messaged me one afternoon late last year to ask if I’d checked the band from Northern Ireland out. My response was “No, should I?”. Needless to say I was immediately smitten by “Big Red” and a copy bought poste haste. Such an impact – the album appealed to my late 80s melodic sensibilities whilst still giving me something new and current to get my teeth into. A perfect introduction to a great band.
All of this meant that I was really excited to hear about the new one reaching completion and imminent release. Once again, order placed and giddy excitement ensued. My first listen to “Cold Star Dancer” hit me in a totally different way to the predecessor. Sure it was good but perhaps my excitement over reached the record? Actually what I was experiencing was the sonic development of the band, and within a couple of listens I actually had in my sweaty palms an album that became one of those “constant rotation listens” for days at a time. Melody galore, with a great 21st century twist on things that suits me right down to the ground these days. Even the cover of an 80s classic (included as a bonus track and more of which later) wasn’t just a typical rehash – this is Maverick doing it their way … and what a way it is.
David Balfour’s vocals soar in just the right way and there is an added passion (rage in places) that set the band and songs apart from a lot of the bands producing music in the 21st century whilst influenced by a time in the mid/late Eighties. The band (made up of David, Ryan on guitar, Richie on bass and Jonathan on drums) are joined by Steve Moore (from Stormzone) on the album and just create a great sound. Production is top drawer but it is the songs that really make it. This is one for repeated listening and one that really gives something new each time.
“Myrmidon” is perhaps the heaviest/fastest track they have yet to produce (clearly pointing towards some more metal influence) but it doesn’t feel out-of-place – the whole record has a heavier feel. Yet this is not a case of trying to be something different – throughout the whole 12 tracks you never get the sense of this being something other than a totally natural progression, Power, might and riffs galore. Title track “Cold Star Dancer” follows straight from the intro, “Dusk”, and sets the tone well. The afore-mentioned “Myrmidon” takes everything up a gear and the drive never lets up.
As for the cover, “Jessie’s Girl”, well what can I say. I can still remember the first time I heard Rick Springfield’s original and loving it (yes I’m that old) and it still has a very soft spot in my heart. Maverick, make it their own and, once again, prove my point that a great song is a great song.
Maverick by name, mavericks by nature possibly – take your blinkers off and get this bought. You will love it.
Cold Star Dancer
Kiss of Fire
Seize The Day
Jessie’s Girl (Bonus Track)
The band are:
Lead Vocals: David Balfour
Guitar: Ryan Sebastian Balfour
Bass: Richie Diver
Drums: Jonathan Millar
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