The Maldives- Listen To the Thunder

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, September 10, 2009

The genre may not exactly be new, but it seems as though alt-country has really come into its own over the last five years or so and created plenty of very enjoyable music acts. But as with most musical styles, there have been acts that really emphasized the alternative part of alt-country and those that have headed towards full blown country. The Maldives lean towards the latter on their debut album Listen To the Thunder. This nine piece group moves between more rock oriented country and traditional country ballads throughout the course of the release, and considering that they hail from Seattle rather than a place like Nashville that is truly impressive.

Though some of the alt-country groups out there simply try to mimic country sounds with a traditional instrumental line up, The Maldives go for the real deal and include instruments such as banjo, harmonica, and pedal steel guitar throughout Listen To the Thunder. This makes their material feel a lot more authentic, and listeners are sure to notice and appreciate this. What also helps the group our quite a bit is that they are always altering their tempos and styles. One moment the instrumentalists might offer a slow tinged country ballad that feels very warm and inviting and the next minute they have launched into a fast paced alt-country piece that features some great solos. Each song truly offers something a little different and listeners will find that The Maldives offer that really grabs them.

As The Maldives have nine members, quite a few of them provide vocals. And although they may be based out of Seattle, that doesn’t mean that some of the group’s singers don’t have that traditional southern sounding twang to their voice that is an element of so many country acts. There are a few moments here and there where some of the vocals do falter (this tends to happen on some of the faster tracks), but it is never a big issue and listeners will find that each member of the band does bring a different nuance to the overall vocal performance.

There are a lot of alt-country bands out there but The Maldives is one that is worth knowing. I’m actually a little surprised that this group hasn’t gained a lot more exposure yet as they are certainly one of the better representations of the genre that I’ve heard all year. But with Listen To the Thunder, I’m willing to bet that they could gain the popularity they deserve. If you like this genre and tend to lean more towards the country side of “alt-country”, buy this album right now.

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