Review: Mae – Multisensory Aesthetic Experience

In my experience, when an artist decides to create something and title it after themselves, it’s their way of saying that the collection of songs we’re about to hear are quintessential to the artist’s perception of themselves or the art they create. For Mae’s new album Multisensory Aesthetic Experience, this is both a blessing and a curse.

You can buy or stream Multisensory Aesthetic Experience on Apple Music.

It’s been 12(!) years since Mae offered us Singularity, their third full-length album. Maybe it’s too honest of me to say, but, up until this latest album, I’d only ever listened to The Everglow in its entirety. Strangely enough though, I join the masses of fans who judge Mae by that album, and with new one, it was no different. Multisensory Aesthetic Experience didn’t quite live up to the standard set by The Everglow.

Musically, the album is breathtaking. It soars in unexpected places and is just subtle enough in others. It’s constantly interesting and keeps everyone guessing. The opener, “Kaleidoscope”, is stunning with its use of strings. The creative direction they took with the composition of the album is what makes me enjoy it so much. It’s what I imagine outer space sounds like. This is why it’s self-titled. Mae’s ability to take a sonic concept and fulfill it to its highest capacity is something to behold.

I wish they had done the same with the lyrics. Whether it’s just weak lyrically or it’s personal, is up to each listener. The comments on YouTube are equally convincing for either side. It’s not quite what I’ve been used to from Mae, either from The Everglow or the other tracks I’ve heard throughout the years. There are tracks that I don’t feel this way about, like “5 Light Years”, which obviously plays to the space theme I mentioned before, or “Let It Die”, which sounds like the old Mae. “The Overview”, however, is a strange sort of spoken word that totally brings us back down and, for me at least, slows it down.

I’d have to say that “Simple Words” is probably my favorite track here, when it comes to the less experimental side of things. It sounds like an Everglow B-side, and I know that’s probably not a great reason to name a track your favorite, but that’s really my only reason. I’ve always loved the way Mae deals with the topic of young love and this is a wonderful embodiment of that.

This was a difficult album to write about because of how disjointed it seems to be. On one hand, we have what’s probably the finest example of what Mae is capable of as musicians and producers. On the other hand, their songwriting is rusty. My reasoning is that they figured that staying close to home lyrically while letting the music transport us would be the best bet to keep the album somewhat grounded. But it doesn’t really work, because we all know Mae is better than that. They’ve never been ones to shy away from loftier goals than what they’ve achieved in past releases. What I love so much about their old stuff is the whimsy they poured into each aspect, and that amount of effort isn’t quite present enough on what should be their defining album.

3.5/5

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

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Mae to perform on StageIt, release “Destination: B-Sides” vinyl

mae

It looks like Mae will be holding a special performance on StageIt on June 7 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their album Destination: Beautiful. You can get tickets here. The band will also be issuing a vinyl release of Destination: B-Sides very soon. Check out the press release below for more info:

May 16, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA – Influential Norfolk rock band Mae is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of their classic debut album Destination: Beautiful and fan coveted compilation Destination: B-Sides with an intimate one-time-only online performance at StageIt.com on June 7th. The show will feature the band performing from their studio and interacting with fans, all streaming live online and on mobile devices for ticket-holders. Tickets are available now at http://spr.tn/maegeit.

Spartan Records has also announced plans to release Destination: B-Sides on limited edition vinyl record for the first time in the near future.

The album will be available for pre-order on an exclusive vinyl variant during the band’s StageIt performance and a portion of the proceeds raised from the performance will go towards re-recording of additional tracks, which will be included on the first ever vinyl pressing of the album.

Mae, in partnership with Spartan Records, will kick off a week-long celebration dubbed #maeweek beginning May 19th through May 23rd. Each day that week, Spartan Records will release an extremely limited edition of 100 copies of Destination: Beautiful on a unique vinyl variant. Fans are encouraged to follow Spartan Records on Instagram (http://instagram.com/spartanrecords) for special content and info about the limited edition releases for #maeweek.

Formed in 2001, Mae released four highly revered full-length albums and three EPs via Tooth & Nail and Capitol Records, which combined sold over half a million copies. During their tenure the band toured the world with bands like Foo Fighters, Weezer, The Fray, OK GO, MuteMath, Circa Survive, Jack’s Mannequin among many others. As part of a year-long charity campaign in 2009, the band partnered with Habitat For Humanity, Donors Choose, and Destination Imagination and raised over $80,000 for those in need. After a few years on hiatus, Mae returned to the stage in February 2013 to commemorate the ten year anniversary of Destination: Beautiful. Now a year later, the band returns for a special StageIt show in honor of Destination: B-Sides for their fans around the world to view.

Pick up StageIt tickets now at http://spr.tn/maegeit and follow the band at https://www.facebook.com/mae for additional updates regarding #maeweek.

Posted by Kiel Hauck