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Review: Mauno – Rough Master


Nova Scotian quartet Mauno serve up a diverse sonic palate on their debut album, Rough Master.

Glistening with an autumnal glow, ‘Rough Master’ provides an enticingly eclectic sonic journey. From shimmering strings to moody guitar, with flurries of delicate piano and smooth vocals weaving throughout the tracks, Mauno gleefully defy expectation at every turn on their debut album. Yet with bassist Eliza Niemi’s musical roots in “classical cello and old R&B” and frontman Nick Everett’s “record collection jammed with choral and folk”, you wouldn’t expect the result to sound any less diverse.

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Residents of Canadian Nova Scotia, the four-piece, including Adam White on drums and guitarist Scott Boudreau, channel at once the gentle ebb and flow of their hometown, “where life unfolds in a slow-drift of tiny moments”, whilst also providing a creative escapism from the mundanity of existence in a sleepy town. There is an infectious eclecticism, somewhat reminiscent of Adult Jazz’s playful compositions, in the suspenseful jolts that shift into swooning riffs, in particular on ‘Reeling’, and ‘Again’ sees this sound escalate into a drawn out, brooding haze amidst which Everett’s earnest vocals saunter.

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The pensively jaunty ‘Champs’ – a track “about enlightenment” – carries a beautiful melancholy within the opening chords that glide into a seamless fusion of lilting melodies and vibrant percussion. It is this constant flickering between bursts of dreamy, meandering refrains and grungier, warped layers of noise that makes ‘Rough Master’ such a captivating listen. At each moment there’s a certain unpredictability, as if the band themselves take a fleeting instant of contemplation before plunging into the next musical turn, culminating in “an album that sounds like a windows-rolled-down summer road trip with the cast of Seinfield” and it’s exactly as excellent as that suggests.

Words by Kezia Cochrane


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