With his sixth full length album Glossolalia, Max Gowan is taking a step out from the background, delving into personal and intimate themes.
Courtesy of SoundAsLanguage ~ album release September 2, 2022
Location: Raleigh, NC RIYL: Alex G, Andy Shauf, Broken Social Scene, Kevin Devine, Hovvdy Focus Tracks: Ornamental, Guardian, Daytripping
Max Gowan’s music has a lot in common with indie darlings like Death Cab or Pedro the Lion, or the latest MJ Lenderman record. “Guardian” is the most upbeat moment on his upcoming Glossolalia, a record that’s sure to blow away fans of any of the above projects. – The Alternative
Here the guitar pop of the previous albums is enriched with instruments, arrangements, gains in dynamism and intensity, as demonstrated by the first single “Ornamental,” an ideal introduction to the rich palette that Glossolalia has to offer. – listening wind
Ahead of a new album, Gowan offers up, “Ornamental,” a spindly, obtuse angle of light shining up and over the center of an arc in the middle of a living room with all white furniture, and heavy dark paintings on the walls. The jeweled texture of every sound converging into this museum display of nature painted on the walls, and sculpted from craft items, realizes a level of Gowan’s song crafting that forms and solidifies in all of the strengths of previous albums, while directing ahead in a carousel of consistent movement without feeling over the top, or underwhelmed. – Small Albums
There is a wonderful sort of jazz pop waltz feeling within the indie rock intricacies (the guitar work is stunning) that pushes ’70s broad pop / rock cues. As I listened with my eyes closed and I thought of artists like Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan and jazz dipped 80’s icon Joe Jackson and, AND dare I say, a late ’60s Burt Bacharach. –American Pancake You take in Max Gowan’s delicate alternative rock by virtue of easy osmosis. It’s an effortless absorption, a soundtrack for pensive moods that have just a hint of melancholy. Its light touch lingers, your mind subconsciously committing the chords to memory, stowing away the lyrics, as a subtle sort of magnetism draws you in. – ThrdCoast
Max Gowan’s excellent new LP Bygones, released by Z Tapes, is certainly the most pleasant release I’ve heard so far in 2019. …Gowan has produced a work of understated beauty…When that extra attention is given, Bygones rewards the listener with intricate melodies, subtle textures, and emotional clarity. – Post Trash “My Kind,” the latest track from Raleigh, North Carolina artist Max Gowan, carries on his penchant for slick, homemade guitar pop, here with echoes of Yo La Tengo. – The All Scene Eye
Max Gowan has found himself as a centrifugal figure in the burgeoning music scene of central North Carolina. Through his behind-the-scenes work as an audio engineer, recording, mixing, and mastering both for local musicians and musicians around the country, he is a key force of all the invisible parts that go into music production.
With his sixth full length album Glossolalia, Max Gowan is taking a step out from the background, delving into personal and intimate themes for his new full length album. He indicates that this is a noticeable shift thematically – an intentional movement away from the muted or covert storytelling, and a direct effort to be more visible and transparent, even biographical, in his songwriting.
The 25-year-old native of Raleigh, North Carolina has a long list to show for his music production accomplishments, and now his attention to detail and audio craftsmanship shines through on an album with production credits all his own. Gowan’s richness in texture and soundscapes will often crown him as your favorite musician’s favorite musician – the talent and dexterity instrumentality and the obvious knowledge of production uplift this project.
Despite the titular implication of Glossolalia, the album’s lyrics are ironically direct and often vulnerably so. The rhyming couplets, especially regarding sinister themes, pair with Gowan’s smooth voice to make these statements: “All they’re going to do/ Is make a jackal out of you”, he sings on the album’s opening track. And this dissonance between the sweetness of the vocals and the lyrical content is one of the album’s many consistent features. Recruiting local friends and musicians to help, the LP balances strings, horns, synths, and guitar gracefully, using texture to give dynamics and sturdiness to the songs.
If there is a special talent in not being overstated about your talent, Max Gowan has it. It’s there, under the surface – the pop sensibilities and thoughtfully, intricately-woven instrumentality. This may well be the reason that at his shows, the crowds know the words. All of the small parts of Glossolalia make it lush and wide open, a huge sound coming from a small city.