Fireworks greet us as ‘The Awakening’ sparks into life at the outset of Screaming Maldini’s self-titled debut album. It’s an appropriate was to open a record that is characterised by its energy and optimism; feeling like a celebration of the culmination of what the band have been toiling to achieve since they first stated making music together.
It’s fair to say that Screaming Maldini are a band who don’t like to rush things. Produced by lead singer and guitarist Nick Cox, The album itself has been a work in progress for a while now, and it feels like a true labour of love. If you wanted to level a criticism at the band it would be that most of the songs are already available. However the Sheffield group seem to have been constantly evolving and revising these tracks. This in encapsulated by ‘Secret Sounds’, a song that seems to have been in existence almost as long as the band themselves. It is fair to say that there is more than a touch of the perfectionist about Nick Cox, and he has managed to somehow make the album version sound even more euphoric and exuberant than before; completely awash with colour and vibrant sounds.
Throughout the album, their music seems to be in a constant state of flux, brimming with kinetic fervour and innocent joy. Their music is forever shifting shape, tempo and focus, creating an aural jamboree of melody. It is a Pandora’s Box of musical styles and influences; you never quite know what’s round the corner; fluctuating from the ebullient highs of ‘Life in Glorious Stereo’ to the delicate fragile beauty of ‘Stutter’.
They have managed to recreate the buoyant unadulterated enthusiasm of their live shows: overflowing with elaborate instrumentation; sparkling with infectious melodies and incorporating complex musical arrangements. Singing duties are shared with Gina Walters, and the balance and interplay between two rich and powerful vocalists breathes an air of happiness and life into every song. Each song is delicately crafted and intricately composed, containing subtle and deft lyricism; it’s almost as though you can see the smiles on their faces as you listen.
Whilst primarily this may be a pop album, to leave the description there would be doing Screaming Maldini a great disservice. Every time you peel a layer away from this record you’ll find something new, unexpected and exciting below. This is a record about having fun, which is exemplified on the final track ‘Four Hours From Now’, which pitches itself somewhere between a Club Tropicana party and a Fiesta. It’s refreshing to hear a band clearly having a whale of a time and enjoying making music so much.
There are very few bands that can create a record that is guaranteed to make you smile. Screaming Maldini are one of them.
Released on 4th February on Hip!Hip!Hip! Records