The Max machine keeps ascending further into the bright blue with this cooler, darker, and mellower release, fashioned sorta like a dry Martini intravenous. The boys are sounding more like a Steely Dan entombed in ice, Kim's Strat coming out to play less often and less inflamed, preferring quieter, intimate moments with the nether bits of the listener's mind.
With respect to the more aggressive cuts, The Party finds the band in free-form, progressive heaven, closest in acerbic kinship with Zappa, while Lip Service rides a jagged funk edge through to its bluesy Fripp-riffed finale. Both hoser anthems became concert favourites as Max traversed Canada and let squeal its laughing gases into every nook, cranny and tiny mining town of the band's vast, empty homeland.
Of the mellower material, Astonish Me is the most heartening, small and jewel-like with Watkinson's Freddie Mercury-poignant piano stylings leading the star search and wish list. Overall, call this another fine but disturbed and slightly hostile Max project, one that finds the band perhaps a bit too self-aware of its oddity yet comfortable with it, never alienating their strange fanbase, Kim and troupe offering up what can only be seen as an integral piece of the band's moonscaped psyche-caressing fuzzy wuzzy puzzle.
by Martin Popoff
1. Lip Service (K. Mitchell, P. P. Dubois) - 4:02
2. Astonish Me (Terry Watkinson) - 4:49
3. Let Your Man Fly (Terry Watkinson) - 2:46
4. Water Me Down (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 3:13
5. Distressed (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 4:12
6. The Party (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 4:46
7. Waterline (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 4:08
8. Hawaii (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 3:03
9. Beyond The Moon (K. Mitchell, P. Dubois) - 6:17
*Kim Mitchell - Guitars, Vocals
*Gary McCracken - Drums, Percussion
*Dave Myles - Bass Guitar
*Terry Watkinson - Keyboards, Vocals
1976 Max Webster
1977 High Class In Borrowed Shoes