The first thing that struck me about the CD is how good it sounds. The opening track, 'Windswept Mile', is all crystalline guitars and smooth melodies - it's not what you'd expect from a band that contains members of Eat Laser Scumbag, The Sips and Toadracer. Nova Scotia have really expanded their array of sounds - while they still have the mid-90s indie rock thing going on (often being very reminiscent of bands like Pavement, Polvo, Weezer and The Flaming Lips) they're now taking it to some unexpected places. There's not a sound on this record that isn't beautifully reproduced and meticulously placed - or at least it sounds that way, maybe it's a lot less planned out and the band just fluked it. I doubt it though.
The following track ('Penny Dropped') sounds more like the Nova Scotia we heard on their previous release, all galloping drums and screaming guitars and keyboard hooks and straining vocals. It's just that everything is BETTER (and hell, things were already pretty damn good with this band). Listening to this song on the bus to work this morning I was given goosebumps by the energy that it contains. It's almost Neutral Milk Hotel-esque in its sense of joyous noise (we're talking 'Holland 1945' here).
They follow that up with 'The Last Boy Band', which could well be my favourite song on the EP. The basis of the song is a bouncy, repetitious bassline which pretty much plays over and over until the end of the song. Bit by bit the band adds in instruments - first the vocals, then drums and a guitar, some doubled vocal parts, another guitar, before the song explodes into screams and woozey distortion about halfway through. It's a thrilling moment, it really is. It's also catchy as hell. Seriously, I've had this song in my head for weeks.
And so it continues from there with the other three songs. 'Crawling Through The Mud' sounds kind of like Weezer, with big choruses featuring group vocals. 'Secrets Of The New Age' features chugging guitars underneath another great vocal melody and dueling lead guitars. There are even glockenspiels! Glockenspiels! Finally, the 6 minute long title track closes out the record in slow burning style. 'Stalin's Holiday Bungalow' was a similarly epic closer on the previous EP, but where that song built up and exploded in cathartic glory, 'Maritime Disasters' offers a more contemplative and smouldering end to proceedings.
There are only 100 copies of this record available. For the love of God, I hope that someone gets a hold of this band and forces them to make more than that, but in case noone does I implore you to get out to see this band and BUY A COPY (you'll also have the added joy of seeing a great live act). There is NO reason why some of these songs couldn't be huge. Pretty much every song here is ridiculous good and really well recorded - there's none of the roughness of Bear Smashes Photocopier, and the polish on these songs actually enhances the energy put out by the band. Seriously, I don't have a single bad thing to say about this record, not even a lone lukewarm comment.
This is the best thing I've heard come out of Brisbane in a long time.
Here's a live video of 'Stunted Rabbits' (from Bear Smashes Photocopier) and 'The Last Boy Band' (from Maritime Disasters) from earlier this month at Ric's. It was a really great show.