My Majestic Star: I Haven't Got It In Me
Hidden Shoal

My Majestic Star might have started out as a solo project for Perth artist Chris Mason (Glassacre) but I Haven't Got It In Me hardly sounds like a single-person ‘bedroom' outing. That's because the dynamic, fifty-one-minute album—the group's third after Ideas Are the Answer and Too Late, The Day—is the product of My Majestic Star the band with Mason now joined by Miriam Braun, Stuart Medley, and Jamie Hamilton. The album delivers fifty-one minutes of reverb-drenched vocal harmonies and raw guitars that may roar but not so loudly they conceal the fundamental elegance of the band's material (the instrumentals “Mitre Peak” and “Dry Lakes” cases in point).

The group opens I Haven't Got It In Me boldly with a dramatic, eight-minute instrumental, “Stranger,” that's elevated by Braun's beautiful cello playing; hearing the instrument swim through the oceanic mass generated by the guitar is a wonder to behold, and the tune's epic quality imbues its post-rock with a rather prog-like aura. A different creature altogether, “Crampling” serves up five minutes of shoegaze-pop psychedelia, all chiming guitars and swooning vocal harmonies. “Hi”softens its crushing guitars with luscious vocal harmonies and cello, while “Uncertain Terms” morphs from a shoegaze paradise of swooping guitars into a bluesy epic. Braun and Mason make lovely singing partners in the elegiac ballad “City Sleeps,” especially when the contrasts in their vocal registers are so audible. That the band tears into songs like “Like Cracked Glass” with a thunderous, high-energy attack doesn't surprise; what does is the prevelance of instrumentals. The poppier vocal songs are clearly more commercial but, to its credit, My Majestic Star admirably tips the balance in the other direction.

February 2010