nn Arbor rock quintet The Maitries m i have released a promising recordm H ing which deserves a wider audiP y y i ence. Featuring songwntervocalist BP' Al Smith, guitarist Bnan Lillie, bass 'V0fy' player Dick Blusto, keyboardist Paul Schmitter, and drummer extraordinaire B. Winchester Smith, this recording successfully mixes stylistic elements of electric guitar grunge, '60s psychedelia, heavy metal and even a bit of country. It reflects the musicians' talent and fine sense of rock musicality, and is one of the most engaging local recording sa round. Songs like "Flesh" combine a grungy guitar sound reminiscent of much of the Seattle-based music popular today, with early '70s heavy-metal riffs. 'Trainsick" combines a fast, punchy, country bass line with inventive growling vocals, giving the tune a very unique rock-country (versus countryrock) feel. "Banshee" is one of the most appealing cuts on this recording The drumming of B. Winchester Smith is central to this tune. Histechnique, which is particularly strong throughout this recording, ranks with the precisión of Riek Dishman and the power of Jackson Spires, both first-rate Ann Arbor drummers. His drumming pushes Brian Lillie's delic guitar line and Al Smith's Doors-like vocals into a pop head-banging riff which is among the best l've heard in a local ensemble. Their cover of Seals and Crofts' "Summer Breeze" is interesting if only for the juxtaposition of the song's familiar melody and Al Smith's screaming vocals. The production of this recording is surprisingly strong. Although Smith's vocals are often placed deep in the mix or obscured entirely by feedbacklaced guitar lines, each tune employs slightly different production techniques thus keeping the overall sound of the recording unique and refreshing. "Ozone" sounds somethinglike the commerical rock of the Irishgroup U-2, andtheethereal productions of avant-gardist Brian Eno. The introduction of "Raisin Bread" has a new-age feel. Coupled with its hard driving tempo, it genuinely reflects the versatility and talent of this fine local group. If this group hangs together and keeps their focus, they might be become more than just another great Ann Arbor band. You can catch the Maitries live on Oct. 9 at Cava Java, on Oct. 20 at the Blind Pig, and on Oct. 29 at PJ's Records & Used CDs, foltowed by a show Cross St. Station.
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