‘Luscious musicality and sublime vocals make it a soulful track filled with effortless beauty.’
Intro to Maya Law
Initially discovering Maya Law more than a year ago when I playlisted her single ‘Breeze’, last month I found myself rediscovering her through Freya Roy’s release ‘Fantasies’. Collaborating together, it highlighted perfectly how some artists just have to work together. However, don’t think that this have to means Maya has to work with others, she very much wants to. Releasing her album ‘Him or Her’ in 2016 – a debut where she collaborated with no less than four other artists, it’s little surprise that this approach has remained a constant in her music. Standalone she is an incredible artist, but in having a real knack for finding the right people to work with, this is truly elevated. And no more is this the case than with her latest track. Seeing Freya and Maya combine once again – but with this one being very much Maya’s – ‘Tired’ (out Friday 10th April) proves that when you put the right artists together, the result is one of true beauty. Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Maya Law.
Feeling instantly relaxed with its drum led opening, the sense of groove that will run throughout this latest track from Maya Law is wonderfully established. Combining dominant bass drum with the delicacy of open and closed high-hat, the emphasis is such that you develop a gentle, yet purposeful sense of sway. Equally, in matching the relaxation with ringing guitar notes, the whole sound is effortless. As is the delivery of Maya’s vocal and in being projected urgently, yet containing soft edges, it reflects the accompanying elements beautifully. However, on moving through the opening verse it soon becomes clear that this balance of tone will really aid the storytelling.
Taking us on a journey that depicts the ending of a long term relationship, the unpredictably set opening phrases of ‘When I’m holding back just a little more, I ain’t got no choice but to let it pour out’ offer the perfect mix of thought and reflection. Shifting beat, but working in time with the metronomic backing, it’s relaxed, yet purposeful soul at it’s best. Doing likewise, even when inverted vocal harmonies occur it very much stays on the gentle, rather than full-on side, ensuring that carefully controlled emotional growth can become evident as we head towards the chorus.
Giving the impression of slowing, within the pre-chorus a more sustained sound is hinted at through the beautiful addition of vowel centred backing vocals and delayed chordal synths. I say impression because in fact the rhythmic intent doesn’t actually change at all. But, in creating this change in feel we are totally drawn to the lyrics which take us into the sophisticated atmosphere of the chorus. Here, with the previous elements maintaining, the texture becomes more luscious through the increase of vocals. Generating a sublime polyphony, it’s as though the emotions held within are trying to gently reason with themselves and as a result, we get drawn to each phrase in a different way.
Shifting in sound from the initial verse, the second – although much sparser – offers much greater freedom and a continuous run of unpredictable musicality. Instantly noticeable through bass guitar providing the only pitched accompaniment, the groove somehow becomes even more soulful than before. Maybe it’s a musical case of less really is more, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t just work, it does so incredibly. Equally, with selective vocal harmonies giving emphasis to the cross-rhythmically set lines ‘I’ve been forwards and back, and now I can’t keep track’ the soul just oozes out. Taking this a stage further, with previous instrumental elements as well as the unexpected emergences of acoustic guitar coming back to the fore, we seamlessly return to the lusciousness of the chorus.
Feeling familiar, but causing even greater connection to be found due to the sparseness of the preceding verse, you really do get a chance to fully enjoy the lyrical content. And as we are in the chorus, all sides of Maya’s vocal. Completely adding to the groove, in delivering both the multitracked, momentum pushing backing hook of ‘your wandering eye left me so blind’ and the projected title lyrics, it really demonstrates her vocal prowess. Equally, in these being the only moments where backing vocals are not provided by Freya, the switch is so seamless that it only serves as further evidence of why these two artists work together so well. But this is to soon be showcased even more so.
With the sound being mostly centred around the lyricism to this point, ahead of a final chorus the focus moves from vocal to instrumental. However, while we may have lost the vocal, the sound is as luscious as everything that has been. Delicate and swooning, the inclusion of this electric guitar solo from Freya is sublime in every way. Infused with chilled jazz motifs as well as strummed harmonies, it is, to paraphrase Maya herself, ‘the perfect way of tying the whole track together’. However, in it being the way we transition back to Maya’s closing vocals, it leaves you realising that the word perfect doesn’t just apply to that solo, but to the entire track.