By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Even though Dog's Light is Bravo, Max!'s debut full-length effort, it seems that the band has been around for years. And, in a way, it has. Since 2009, these guys (and gal) have played the area extensively enough that, even with a shitty name, the word-of-mouth buzz on them has been strong. Perhaps too strong.
Yet, though the hype surrounding this release could've been too much pressure for many local outfits, Johnny Beauford and crew prove up to the task. Indeed, the songs on Dog's Light are so well thought out and executed it seems impossible that such a relatively new band wrote and recorded them.
The opening cut, "Hotel Denalian," for example, sounds like some sort of unholy fusion of The Walkmen and Wilco. The song just reeks of indie cool. It's hipper than hip. It's alt-country filtered through The Postal Service. It's too good to be true—except that it isn't. It's just that good. The next song, "Kiss," is an Old 97's-style two-step that could be a bona fide pop hit.
All in all, taken together, the songs on Dog's Light come across like Calexico without the multi-cultural crossover. In spite of the atrocious name, Bravo, Max! is a band to watch.