tarting with a Steve Reich sample, anyone who listens to Maximillian Colby’s Discography retrospective will recognize that this isn’t just another punk band. Judging by their amount of output, however, you might just think that. One 7”, two compilations on Whirled Records and a split 12”. It sounds almost exactly like an unknown punk band of the mid 90s. Judging by their sound on the opening song you might think that they’re just another post rock band. You’d be wrong there too, of course, as Max Colby came before many of the Mogwai’s, GY!BE’s, and Explosions in the Sky that dominate the landscape today. And, more importantly they did it better in many ways by drawing a straight line from Slint and other like minded bands to the punk underground. Judging merely by the vocals you might think that they’re a hardcore band. Well, OK, you may have a point there. But Maximillian Colby wasn’t just a hardcore band. And they weren’t just a punk band or a post-rock band. They were all of that and more.
The first song on the disc sets the tone early. “New Jello” sounds as if it was recorded by Mogwai on the sessions for their upcoming album. Driving guitars using different effects pedals for impact, the song marches firmly in place unwilling to go anywhere but up. As crescendo after crescendo uplifts the piece, the group becomes more and more abrasive and unforgiving. It’s a brilliant song made all the more brilliant by the inclusion of the Steve Reich sample that plays in the background of the beginning portions of the piece.
“Sifelaver” rides the same sort of concept in a different fashion. The melody is slightly more complex and the guitars now play interlocking parts, rather than in unison as on “New Jello”. It soon explodes out of its complacency, however, with screamed vocals and a stop start second section that charges the song into a place that actually gets to show off the relative talent of the guitarists.
The only real complaints that can be found with this disc are the sound quality on some of the songs and its length. In the quest for comprehensiveness, the group or label picked out the best tapes for each song. Unfortunately the best tapes for songs like “Anacin” and “Coughfin’” sound like a recording from someone’s basement (which they may well have been). Also, wrapped up in the comprehensiveness of the CD is the fact that the CD is almost 75 minutes long. As cathartic as many of the songs are, the group surely never meant for the songs to be packaged this way. It is, however, commendable to package all of the songs on one disc for one stop Maximillan Colby shopping. And this is probably the key to the whole venture: never before has Maximillian Colby’s music been so widely available. It’s about damn time. Thanks Lovitt.