Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Great Writing, Arranging, and Musicianship. A 70's classic.
John McKinna | Key Largo, Florida United States | 12/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must disagree with my fellow reviewer who finds MUTINY UP MY SLEEVE worth only one star, and compares it unfavorably to the sounds (I hesitate to call such grindingly unmelodic noise 'music') of 80s and 90s thrash-metal. The Canadian group Max Webster's followup to their excellent HIGH CLASS IN BORROWED SHOES is a superb collection of melodically and harmonically sophisticated rock music--as competently written, arranged, and played as anything by Yes in their classical-rock heydey, but without the arty pretensions and rambling. Rarely are radio-friendly rock songs this sophisticated (an observation that is also true of Steely Dan and very few others.) The interplay between band members is tremendous--instrumentally adventurous without detracting from the focus on well-structured melody and harmony. Listen to "Astonish Me", "Waterline", and "Lip Service" for proof. Kim Mitchell--who went on to become one of Canada's most successful domestic guitar-hero rock stars--contributes absolutely superb, accessible guitar lines that remind me of Larry Carlton's work with Steely Dan: elegant, powerful melodies and arpeggios rendered with taste, technique, and a jazzy knowledge of chord extensions and upper intervals. Not just the warp-speed noodling that currently passes for virtuosity in contemporary 'metal.' Do yourself a favor and try this great Canadian band at the height of its late-70s powers. Also recommended: HIGH CLASS IN BORROWED SHOES, and A MILLION VACATIONS. Great stuff, I promise."
Let This Album Become Your Fool
Pablo Gabriel | Toronto | 08/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is only one problem with Mutiny Up My Sleeve...it ends. This is an album that speaks volumes considering the foul sounds that were being produced on the canadian music market; not to mention the american market. On this album, 4 musicians and one brililant lyricist came together to create possibly the greatest album to come out of Canada of all time. This album from start to finish never fails to amaze, rock and just simply blow away! I would like to say this album is flawless, but that would be an understatement. This album is flawnone.
From the opening of Lip Service, "Max" shows that they know how to write a riff and it is possibly one of the best examples on this album to show that "Max" know how to write a song. The transitions, and there are many, are smooth and just plain brilliant. Most of these riffs are contradictory, but Max work them in a way which is almost laughable. One has to laugh at the fact that Rush have tried and tried to do what Max has done and failed every time. From here we are brought to the first Watkinson piece which has the prgressive romanticism that is always found on his songs. Not to mention the incredible soloing on Mitchell's part. On this song the listener gets a sense of a band who know exactly what they are all thinking and how they can put that connection into their writing.
The second Watkinson piece, which is by far the weak link on the album, has its moments during the last 1:30 of this song. This piece is the proverbial broken nail, on an otherwise prefect body.
From the first heavier songs, they slow it down with a sad "Water Me Down" on which the great production of this album is noticeable with a beautifully sounding piano and guitar; not to mention Mitchell's voice. "Distressed" however would have to be the high point on this side for me. The middle part alone is so brilliantly textured and layered with keyboard and guitar solos that more than one listen has to be given to this part alone. McCracken's fills on this track also add an element of technicality which only helps structure Mitchell, Myles and Watkinsons playing to sheer exactness and brilliance.
Now on side two, which is entirely and completely worthy of a chapter in the bible, Max Webster take a completely inhuman form; both lyrically and technically. "The Party" begins with an anthem that every Max fan wishes he/she could have yelled at one of their shows. From that chant the song becomes a true work of art. Much in the style of Lip Service, they create a briallinat piece of work that jumps from rock, to a zappaesque breakdown, to what sounds like leather-bound santa claus. From there Mithcell shows his prowess as a guitarist. He taps that first note to build tension until he just lets loose and floods the song with his fluid godlike playing. McCracken on the drums does not show off(unlike fellow drummer Neil Fart) but shows what a drummer needs to do to add just enough to make a song perfect. From The Party, Waterline slowly rises to add that straight rock reminiscent of Max's first album.
The last two songs on this album are the crux of the album. Lyrically Beyond The Moon is a short story on its own, which shows Pye's bleak view of what humans have become and will become. "2,000 years we crossed up Jesus, thinking hed make ends meat. Christ no!" is a summation of his depth as a word painter. Hawaii and Beyond the Moon must be listened one after the other. I see them as one song and not two. And frankly to even write about them would be an insult. I will however only say this about Hawaii\Beyond The Moon: no band from this continent has ever dared to challenge the brilliance of this flawless piece of masterwork.
Frankly, Mutiny Up My Sleeve is a necessary album for any fan of music or poetry."
This is a rich meal for the ears...
Pablo Gabriel | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not as polished as "A Million Vacations", yet more sophisticated than "High Class In Borrowed Shoes", Max came up with something special here. There's some hot rockers and slow ballads, but dynamics abound. There's a very special vibe in songs like "Distressed" and "Hawaii" that is hard to explain. "The Party" adds the wacky trademark, of course. "Beyond The Moon" is a grand finale (eh Geddy?) indeed. Nice and hearty rock'n'roll for those of us who crave just a little bit more from our music."