Playing music together since a very early age (11 month old Anthony Polisena’s first drum set were his mom’s pots and pans), Montreal based band The Maxwells is comprised of close friends Joseph Sardelli (vocals), Santino Agostino (lead guitar), Jonathan Pires (rhythm guitar), Fabrizio Pizanelli (bass guitar) and Anthony Polisena (drums). Joined by their passion for all things music, the boys have dedicated their lives and energy to exploring their own unique musical path that is leading them around the country.
Despite their history, avid following, and frequent appearances in almost all of the greatest small venues Quebec and Ontario have to offer, Heart Attack is their first full length record which they released earlier this year. Best described as somewhere in between garage rock and indie rock, Heart Attack delivers to listeners old and new the same kind of hard-hitting energy that they are known for on stage.
The album opens with title track “Heart Attack,” whose predominant power chords and rhythm guitar immediately set up the genuine yet ultimately unpredictable tone that runs all the way through to the last track. The second track “Give Your Love Away” maintains a similar tempo and feel, adding to the mix a chorus that sounds like something that could be right off of U2’s Joshua Tree. This chorus stands as the only part of the song that doesn’t reflect the band’s self-admitted, shared idolatry of rock band Kiss. What follows is the track “I Don’t Want to Be Alone Tonight,” which continues the rhythm-heavy sound of the beginning of the album; however it seems as if a previously unnoticeable gap between the lyrics, vocals, and instrumentals seems to grow more prominent. It is not that they are not on time with one another; members just seem to be fighting one another for control of the directionality of the song’s sound.
Towards the center of the lengthy album is “Superglue,” the first song to showcase finger picking rather than heavier powerchords. What results is a much more melancholy tone. However, it is in this musical space that vocalist Joseph Sardelli seriously starts to shine, not only in his range but in his ability to capture a powerful tone that is perfectly mirrored by Santino Agostino’s solo. Skipping ahead a few songs, you will find “Questions of a Puppeteer,” a track that is surprisingly reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys. For me, this song is the first track where the Maxwell’s awesome chemistry really begins to make itself known. They sound incredibly tight; while I could do without the chanting, the instrumentals and the changes are beautifully seamless.
“We Need to Talk” carries on this funky energy in a minimal but clean manner that is still just as heavy hitting, but sonically a long way off from the beginning half of the album. Sophisticated guitar solos are intertwined around the funky guitar riffs and backed by solid support from the bass and drums. Perhaps for these guys, less is more. When they are on the same page, they shine with an energy that would be even more magnetic live.
Written by Jordan Hodgins