As one of my hot picks for Rock 2013, it seems only fair that I review MMX’s new E.P, Child. Coming from a previous band that I loved, Francesqa, these four lads from Oxford have put together four songs that are almost truly original; high praise in today’s saturated market of indie bands.
Opener Mercy sets the tone with its sparkling guitar, distant drums and synth which are the appropriate backing for the huge talents of vocalist Ashley Wilkie. His voice simmers beautifully through three octaves and his lyrics, although a little dark, only add to the celestial nature of the piece. Stay follows a similar style with organs, but a more upbeat drum section on the track really brings the EP to life. This shouldn’t be described as depressing however; the dark lyrics seem somewhat uplifting and inspiring amidst the vast musical talent on display.
Ten, which has been recorded beautiful in their live video at St. Michael’s Church here, offers more of the same subtle brilliance that will stand MMX apart from their contemporaries. Strained vocals from Wilkie are teemed only with an understated synth and dreamy guitar chords, and the harmonising talents of all four of the band are shown in the uplifting chorus. Ritual, the final track on the EP, is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. The tribal drums and synth akin to Scottish group CHVRCHES are gorgeous, but MMX outshine the hottest band of the moment, through the amazing lyrics and singing of Wilkie. Describing the mourning of friend’s death could easily have been overdone, but he perfectly encapsulates the despair fuelled by “praying to trade my life; I sore the fear in your mother’s eyes.” As a piece of music, its hauntingly brilliant.
The pulsating finale to the EP finishes one of the best debuts (sort of) from a band I’ve ever heard. It resembles a bespoke suit; not many will ever experience it and there are plenty of cheaper alternatives, yet few can match the quality and craftsmanship on display that will be appreciated by those who know what they’re looking at. More of the same please, gentlemen.
The E.P can be streamed on SoundCloud.