The debut cements the band’s reputation as the most exciting independent act on the horizon.
Lifting moods with their unique brand of infectious reggae-infused indie-rock, Christchurch four-piece Mako Road have been dropping top-shelf music for the past few years.
Since hitting the ground running full pelt in 2018 with the release of two EPs, The Green Superintendent and Local Safari, the NZ outfit have gained a loyal following with their blend of hazy, psych-rock.
Now, their much-anticipated full-length debut album, Stranger Days, delivers on all fronts with a gold standard snapshot of catchy indie-rock.
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Written over a two-week getaway to a batch on the shores of Lake Taupō and recorded in the renowned and secluded studio environment of Wellington’s The Surgery, Stranger Days is Mako Road’s effort to combine the raw, upbeat energy of their 2018 releases with fuzzy grooves and brooding melancholia.
“Before we went to Taupō, we were taking a bit of an ad hoc approach to writing the album. We felt we weren’t getting anywhere so we decided to turn over a new leaf and basically start from scratch, using only a few ideas we had floating around before our getaway,” Mako Road explains of their debut.
The result is eight tracks dripping in salty psychedelic surf rock gold, finding a band at the absolute peak of their powers – and they’re still only just getting started.
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Packed with wielding hypnotic beats and dreamy riffs – the kind that would evoke a sway out of even the least rhythmically inclined – the band take their signature style to another level with this release, introducing “some darker corners in this album”.
Diving into the realms of moody synth-pop and even cosmic psychedelia, this record sees the band take some major leaps towards discovering their own sound.
“I think every musician is in a constant state of change or evolution, always wanting to either try something new or improve on a sound they like. For us, it feels like we are walking round in the dark a bit, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
Tapping into the raw, groovy sounds of their earlier material yet showing significant songwriting maturity and instrumental dexterity, the debut stands as a creative watershed for the band, especially having being produced by band members Connor Jaine and Rhian Ward.
“It’s important to us to have control of our sound, particularly in these early days. We need to be able to do as much as we can by ourselves so we get better at what we do,” the band explain.
“There’s a lot of trust involved in using an external producer; I guess we haven’t found the right one yet.”
Having built a reputation for their electric live sets through appearances at the likes of Splendour In The Grass and Electric Avenue as well their own sold-out headline tours and with dreams to take their set to the European festival circuit, this record captures the spirit of their intoxicating presence that you’d see from them on stage, bottling a hazy summer dream gig in a jar for us starved festival-goers.
Their debut album, Stranger Days is a cohesive collection of tracks that holds onto that classic Mako Road magic we’ve come to know and love, but also hears them exploring just what it is that makes them unique.
It’s a safe bet you’ll be hearing these guys a lot over this upcoming summer season.
Stranger Days is out now. Listen to it below.