Overburnt Afterdrive begins as though it were the intro of a horror film. It sounds specifically like a soundtrack for Suspiria, the gory and sinister 1977 Italian film. During one especially gruesome scene, our ballet academy heroine is trapped in a room of razor wire. Any accompanying track would need to be just as sharp as the blades, and just as dark as the mind that concocted this event.
The Vancouver-based two-piece, Maven CX, delivers such a dark, throbbing, ambient electronic sound on their first album. Though this thirteen track album is haunting and intense, it’s also strange and wondrous. Themes of travel — both in time and space — are littered throughout this unique cassette.
Within minutes, Maven CX offers listeners a dispersal of soundscapes, forward-driving electro beats, field recordings, and a soft-spoken electric guitar to carry the melody and bring the pieces together. At times we are carried into a futuristic, other-worldly terrain, like in tracks “No Directions To Spacetown,” or the title track “Overburnt Afterdrive.” Other times we are offered some redemption from our apocalyptic and suspenseful journey. This journey takes a new turn with “Door Song.” This one is rhythmic, calculated, and yet at the same time catchy. It comes off like a song for a dance party somewhere in this weird post-apocalyptic world.
With this new release, musicians Kevin Maeng and Steven Scherrelies have glimpsed us humanity’s dark future. I wonder how many of us have the courage to live it.