Quiet, Careful Control And Musical Prowess Pervade New MAJJ Album ‘Relapse’

At the risk of sounding too generalized, there’s something special about (good) post-rock. On their new album Relapse, France’s post-rock etc. outfit MAJJ jumps off the metaphorical ledge of the modern, short and catchy song based music environment and into something pretty much entirely different.

There’s no sense of compactness or suffocation on the new album. Instead, it’s like the band takes the listener through a trance-like experience, putting them down on the other side at the forefront of a broad landscape. There’s a feeling of grandiosity and perhaps endless opportunity at play in the album. There’s a sense of being able to take on the world — and following through with that — which is more grounded than it might be in other music. Whereas some tracks are made with a purpose to make you “feel good” in mind — and that works for some — that’s not what MAJJ is doing. Instead, they present their view of music as something that is itself grandiose. The music isn’t pushing you or meant to push you a certain direction. It is the direction; it is the grandiosity. There’s an important difference.

This is accomplished, importantly, entirely through the music itself. There are no lyrics on the album. Instead, the band takes their listeners on a journey solely with their own musical prowess. There are gaps in the music, in a sense, when it at times presents as dreamy and atmospheric. These parts, though, work very well. They allow the listener to, perhaps, have a greater experience with the album than they’d have otherwise, because it’s like a prompt for the fan’s mind to “fill in the blanks.” Sometimes what’s not said is as important as what is.

MAJJ, with their cultivated post-rock presented on Relapse, shows that their interest is not just in showing off their quantitative practical ability, but rather, their aim feels to display their qualitative ability.

It feels like they’ve cut to the core of what good music is all about in the first place, and they’ve established a place for themselves in the process.

5/5 Stars

Listen to the record below on Bandcamp.