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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Max Webster - Mutiny Up My Sleeve (1978 canada, stunning prog rock)

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

Max Webster
*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

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Max Webster - High Class In Borrowed Shoes (1977 canada, great heavy prog rock)

The one unifying factor coursing through Max Webster's magnificent premiere was a rural warmth that evoked images of. I dunno. Carved cherry wood. In comparison, High Class In Borrowed Shoes, although no heavier, evokes a sheen of polished aluminum, with its bright, uncompromising headphone-ready drum sound, its everlite, dewdropped piano work, and its painstakingly perfect execution. 

But High Class sails the same passionate seas of wanton adventure, offering arguably four metal or hard rock works, most panoramic, scorching and insistent being America's Veins and the swooping and snatching title track, the song improbably combining boogie and pomp until circumstance breeds good fortune. Lyricist Pye Dubois, although not an official noise-making member of the band (in the great tradition of The Dead's Robert Hunter), continues to be the Max Webster's philosophical engine and perfect, crucial soulmate to Kim Mitchell's fluid guitar mathematics, Pye offering memorable yet cryptically cast aspersions on society's ills and man's monologue with respect to his allotted space. 

And as was the case with the debut, all points of the compass lead to the heart no matter what the action level, the album scrubbed clean then chiming by way of elegant Terry Watkinson keyboard work, and absolutely top-of-the-line pride in craftsmanship on the part of the whole circus. It seems almost a mixed symbol that the band would so plainly embrace controversy with the gender-bending weirdness of the cover art, given that all parties involved, including producer Terry Brown, worked so hard to make Max's challenges so warmly inviting and simultaneously so state-of-the-art. It basically stands as more evidence that the complexities of both Max's message and its medium were beyond marketing comprehension, and unfortunately, as history would bear out, beyond the market.
by Martin Popoff, from his book " The Collectors Guide to Heavy Metal - Volume 1: The Seventies" 

1. High Class In Borrowed Shoes - 4:00
2. Diamonds Diamonds - 3:18
3. Gravity - 4:53
4. Words To Words - 3:34
5. America's Veins - 4:08
6. Oh War! - 4:25
7. On The Road - 3:25
8. Rain Child (Terry Watkinson) - 4:22
9. In Context Of The Moon - 5:13
All Songs written by Kim Mitchell, Pye Dubois, except where noted.

Max Webster
*Kim Mitchell - Guitars, Lead Vocals
*Terry Watkinson - Keyboards, Vocals,
*Mike Tilka - Bass Guitar, Arp Bass, Vocals
*Gary Mccracken - Drums, Percussion

1976  Max Webster

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