Sydney punk hardcore band Maverick strode into our awareness with the determined and genuine “Longevity”. The single was a taste of what was to come with the five piece’s EP State of Mind, releasing today (16th March) via Dogfight Records. Maverick are Marty Rowney (vocals), Jordan Perez (guitar), Jack Nisbet (guitar), Corey Edwards (bass), and Mitch Links (drums).
It’s “Longevity” which kickstarts the EP, and rolls unwaveringly forward like a tank as its message is shared in strength. A significant part of this force is the vocals that come across like a fierce rap rock and are unshakably solid. It’s straight up, what-you-see-is-what-you-get vibing as Marty Rowney speaks of attempts to succeed through endless obstacles.
Having a personal preference for a more melodic style of singing, I was unsure if a full EP of “Longevity”-ish tracks would be something I could endure, especially with the intense focus I take with a review, but I went for it anyway. I respect the sincerity of the message that Maverick share in “Longevity” as well as the moreishness of their riffs. Something about Maverick sticks with me and has made them hard to ignore. You can virtually smell the passion behind the music, and that in itself is addictive.
I was glad I stuck around, because the second track of the EP, “10 Seconds”, is instantly satisfying. Beefy riffs of the intro are a solid invitation, setting the scene for the plain speaking growl-tinged vocals. Thrashing and angular, with a momentary space for a breath, the structure of “10 Seconds” is enthralling and the track doesn’t let go. Teeth-gritting vocals call out into the night, demanding we take responsibility for change, as driving riffs keep things relentlessly fired up.
“Crimson King” as the third track of State of Mind begins gently and acoustically, and I’m immediately curious how those sledgehammer vocals will fit in with this. Musically Maverick are incredible, and “Crimson King” is yet another ‘fuck yes!’ feel of a track, from the introduction alone. There’s leanings into more melodic vocals here, and I’m enjoying this sense of exploring something vulnerable. Layered vocals add variety on this, and the build-up into chorus massiveness works really well. Loving the bass and the progressive building up into a hard hitting guitar focus from the bridge onward. The simple vocal call-outs over top of this feel like freedom, making for a satisfying finish.
The title track opens with tension and drum-focus, and speaks about lessons we take on from the generations before us. This track inspired within me more understanding as to what Maverick are doing with the EP. They say it clearly within the track, in wanting to “lay it out in layman’s terms to change your state of mind”. This in essence is what seems to drive this band, their directness, and their sense of determination. They’ve found what is important, have seen others be stuck and lost, and want to share their own inspiration that drives them to create opportunity and ‘be the change’ so to speak. “State Of Mind” imparts this self-sustainability with hectic rhythms, gang vocals, and incredible guitar work. A jaw-dropping bridge gives a sense of climbing a tower while the bricks crumble away underneath you, with the fire of possibility keeping you going. I reckon these guys would be incredible to see live.
“Apologies” follows, and with sonic waves of warmth this track takes a more reminiscing perspective. While I don’t have the lyrics at hand, it seems as though the track echoes a similar sentiment to what Stick To Your Guns share in “The Reach For Me: Forgiveness Of Self”; a recognition of the harm that these ‘demons’ of pain and regret do, as they jangle around inside us on an endless loop, as well as the importance of taking responsibility in order to break free from that pain. Hard hitting choruses and more subdued curiosity at the verses work well here, with a gorgeously spacious and introspective bridge, as well as a thoughtful ending.
“Resolve” is a solid closing track to the EP, feeling like a satisfying celebration after moving through hard work. In amongst the vocal sledge-hammering are such gems as “I’ve come to realise good company and guts are the fuel to the fire that cauterise life’s cuts” and the track takes on a vibe of someone bruised, battered, and bloody, sharing what they learned in the battle. In “Resolve”, Maverick are clearly pushing hardcore and all-in with the band, this thing they’ve found a home for themselves in (“Married To The Noise” anyone? Maverick should tour with STYG..). With soaring guitar and anthemic choruses, this is a celebration of doubts and challenges they’ve pushed through in maintaining their belief in what they do (“Fuck those who walked out”) and an affirmation to continue (“I’ll try till I die. This is my resolve”). This track is definitely a strong finish to the EP, and the fierce determination is palpable.
It’s clear to me now after spending the day with State Of Mind that the guys live and breathe this band, and the brash force that is felt is 100% genuine. While the vocals did feel somewhat ‘samey’ by the end of the six tracks, I can understand and accept the driving force behind them more clearly now, and appreciate that they directly reflect the energy behind Maverick. The band are generously offering up inspiration in layman’s terms and with honesty, backed by gorgeous guitar work, bass grooves, and driving beats.
Honesty and inspiration shared in layman's terms, with fierce ambition. Maverick have an impressive sound and a contagious sense of motivation to get up and make things happen.
Vocals are too 'samey' for me, and would love to see more exploring/experimentation to change things up a little, while still maintaining the power in the message.