The Time It Takes
(MR Promotions/Right Track)
The artist takes a clear-eyed stare at us from the cover. It’s as if he knows something we don’t. Sheffield-born, Max is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumental player and producer and he is only 20. He has been out on tour opening for Rebecca Ferguson all around the UK which is where we saw him and his musicians. The impression I had was that he was lively, worked the crowd well, sang with enthusiasm and played a mean saxophone. That’s without looking at any contemporary notes on the show!
Apparently he has experience already, working with Gary Barlow, Olly Murs and Geri Halliwell…but let’s not hold any of that against the lad, let’s just check out this first album and the songs. Apart from Satisfied written by Larry Van Kriedt, these numbers are all self-penned.
Give Me All Your Loving has an immediacy that grabs your attention, Max’s voice is a tad nasal but there again he’s in there competing in the pop world with the Derulo’s and Justin B’s isn’t he? A good pop tune though the basic beat is a tad mainstream for me ; No has that stomp beat again and a bouncy synth figure and the voice comes in where you’d expect it to, Restaino manages to sound enthused and emphatic most of the time and though the glitzy ‘contemporary’ production isn’t my bag these tunes are as good as anybody’s AND potentially radio-friendly.
The Time It Takes uses a catch fingerclick tempo and highish vocal delivery; Fire Flies Light Up The Sky has much more of an edge but again too primitive a beat. Leavened by some fingerclicks. Good song with some twists. Smile At The Right Time starts with horrible Barlow piano BUT I seem to remember this one sounding good live, in a Commodores kind of way. (You know what I mean here, Max !) One for the female contingent and of its ilk superior. Life Is Real is pop-reggae and the voice is far too Bieber for this old muso, nice reverb build on the keys though. Fail has an almost baroque intro befitting a Shirley Bassey opus. Best singing on the record, sans whine and with a richness that avoids being heavy, somehow. Hence the falsetto passages fit well. It’s craftsmanship whichever way you approach it.
Sally has a tricky time signature and the damped guitar works well, the jaunty tune is like a 21st Century Gilbert O’Sullivan. The melody here works a treat and this is the star track on the collection, hands down. Satisfied is another swooner and by now we’re used to the Restaino voice which is his own and stops songs like this being a Michael Jackson tribute, thank goodness.
Closing track Over And Over Again has a jittery pulse and a suitable lyric and some of his excellent sax playing. Quality pop not aimed at my demographic by a new talent with some high points but consistent tunefulness.
(Many thanks to Lisa Davies for help with this review)