Album Review :
Mahteo - The NuWave Republic

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Artist: Mahteo
Album: The NuWave Republic
Label: Scotoma Artist Co-op
Release Date: August 14, 2007
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Lucky
2. Montreal
3. To Manifest like Breath
4. Ahi Te Encontrare
5. New Love

The fact that the 80s are still trying to live on is, in my opinion, a rather confusing thing. At times it can be entirely thrilling, and at others it can be downright horrifying. Take the example of 80s cartoon shows being turned into modern movies. You’ve got TMNT, Transformers, The Incredible Hulk, and so forth. Then there’s the recent rise of bands who grew up in the 80s and have decided to make that influence known in their music. From the 80s metal/southern rock influence of The Showdown and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, to the 80s nuwave/ dance punk influence of The Killers, Jonezetta, Mahteo, and many more. For most of these, I will leave it up to you to decide which fits under the category of “thrilling” and which belong to the “horrifying,” but I will go into more detail on Mahteo. These keyboard infused indie rockers hail out of Dallas, Texas with the majority of their members sporting “Spanish roots” that shine through in their music.

Taking a sharp turn away from most of the indie bands these days, Mahteo’s vocalist has a deep voice without much pop training. There are a few exceptions of course, and this rougher sound has worked for many great bands, but instead of embracing a powerful and energetically raw voice, this guy has tried to sing smoothly and it comes into the blend sounding awkward and out of place. To put it simply, he’s not very rock and roll. So what is left? Instrumentals that rock. Once I stop paying attention to the vocals, I notice songs with great musicianship. The music blends several true indie influences to create a new feel. The keyboard is the most upfront 80s factor and present throughout most of the songs, but the guitars are what really set this album apart, ranging from crunchy to stringy to tangled and jangled to intricately melodic. The drums keep toes tapping and twist together with the keyboards to keep all of the music cohesive and interesting.

Lucky for us, Mahteo are not ripped right out of the 80s, and the influence is taken to just the right measure. This music is purely modern, but it also contains a nod to mid and late 90s indie rock pioneers. It’s a shame that I found the vocals so hard to get into, but if you connect with them, this release should be a great listen for you, but as cool as this music may be, I sure hope a NuWave Republic never actually occurs politically. ::shudder::

5/10

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