Really Well, the new record from Halifax band Mauno, is an expansive, idiosyncratic study in the creases in intimacy, authenticity, and labor, and the ways that music–
guitars, bass, drums, synths and vocals— can explore and express them. Written by vocalist/bassist Eliza Niemi, vocalist/guitarist Nick Everett, guitarist Scott Boudreau and drummer Adam White and recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Calgary studio, the record collapses the personal and the professional within critiques of capitalism and creative labour. Musically, too, it is non-linear, jutting from the twisted, plucky indie-skiffle of the opener “Really, Really” to the charged post-punk march of “Half It”, to the spring-reverb-tweaked riffing of “Reeling II”, to the dreamy, sidestepping guitar pop of “Expectations”, to the gorgeous, macabre slow-jam of “Vampire”.
Lyrically, the record deals with Mauno’s preoccupations with the nature of creative labor, relationships, and the self under capitalism. They note that their critiques are filtered
through a lens of the absurd, turning them playful. “There’s something about humour and laughter that is very subversive and deeper than I think a lot of people realize”, Niemi says. “With these songs, I was trying to sort of dance on the line”. “There’s a double meaning to everything”, adds Everett. “You have to leave space for people to think. Where is the place for the listener if they’re not going to contribute their own thoughts, or their own interpretations?”
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