As Let Me Love You Like A Man neatly demonstrated, Mavrik makes a particular type of pop music. It is pop music which merges with more classical graces. Pop music is balladic and understated. Pop music constantly proves itself to require a better generic label, pop sounding a bit too mainstream and unsophisticated for what he does. Because this is very sophisticated music, Burden, his latest release, is a collection of fifteen compelling songs.

The opening brace of songs, American Boy and Keep Running, lay out the musical stall as indicated by the previous single; they are slow, soulful and sweet, refined and understated. Exactly what you expect from him based on what has gone before.

This is why track three, There Was a Time, comes as a change of pace. It still falls into the laid-back side of things, but it is beat-driven, forged around organ and piano sounds, and incorporates spoken word and gentle saxophone sounds. In Mavrik’s world of subtlety and supple musicality, this is quite a departure but a good one, as it shows that he has the skill and foresight to explore new ground.

And it is between the spaciousness and ambience of those opening numbers and the more mainstream pop sounds of There Was A Time, that the album sits. Most songs err towards the understated, but even these are often driven on the gentle groove of big beats. It is a great combination; the beat ensures that the music has a structure, something to tether the drifting nature of the notes and chords that float above it, and the piano acts to soften and shroud those beats. It is a gentle collision that contrasts and complements in equal measure. Opposite that attracts.

Don’t Let Me Go is the most graceful and emotive of affairs, so spacious that much of the time, you feel as if you are listening more to the atmospheres and anticipation that pools and percolates between the notes than the music itself. It’s a great skill to have, space is often overlooked, but as is demonstrated here, it is as powerful and potent as any intelligent turn of phrase or clever chord progression.

Goodbye is heartfelt and honest, Take Me Home is lush and richly adorned, and Strangers With Memories shimmers and shines, both charming and chiming, dynamic in its rises and falls, its musical ebbs and flows.

Mavrik is a romantic. I know many pop singers claim such a title, but merely rhyming Moon with June or making clumsy declarations of love isn’t enough. Mavrik is the real deal, and Burden is a soundtrack to love, loss, longing, and life itself. Gorgeous, rich, relatable, life-affirming, occasionally melonchoic but always irresistible. What an album!

Previous articleThe 65th FYC Album – Various Artists (reviewed by Dave Franklin)
Next articleScorpion Tea signs with GIVE\TAKE Records
Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

Leave a Reply