HomeMusicConor Maynard Releases Breakthrough New Album

Conor Maynard Releases Breakthrough New Album

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Menacing melodies float around us as the slow-churning synth play of “I’m Here Forever” fills the air with an ominousness that, although muted by the shadow of the rollicking beat, plays an understated role in the moodiness of “By Your Side” as well. “A Different Way” aches like a long-forgotten ballad refashioned in millennial moxie, while “If I Ever” screams in silence, muffled by a synth-filtered rhythm that is as intoxicating as it is nauseatingly complex.

“Dark Side” has a multifaceted progressive pop finish that is as embracive of experimentalism as the black-and-white melodies crushing us in “Enemies” could be, were they not as boldly stoic as they are in their present state. Whether his heart is bleeding in “Storage,” suffocating us with honest emissions in “Dark Side” or inspiring us to look at our own scars in “How Am I,” Conor Maynard is bound to get your attention in his new album +11 Hours, which was released just this Friday to an excellent reception from critics across the board.

Though most of the tracks on +11 Hours are lyrical showcases, there’s just as much to be said about the instrumental fabric of the record as there is its sharp, pointed poeticisms. The synthesizers command a lot of the limelight in “I’m Here Forever,” “A Different Way,” and “Enemies,” and when they harmonize with the vocal in the driven “If I Ever,” there’s more than one moment where it’s hard to tell who is in control of the music – Maynard or the synth parts that he’s breathing so much life into via his verses.

He’s emotional in this record, but he’s very careful to avoid the negative aspects of writing too intimate an album in +11 Hours; for every chillingly retrospective statement he makes, there’s a little dash of surreal eclecticism to follow it up, as if to intentionally keep the music from getting too self-centered. There’s not a doubt in my mind as to whether he’s taking this phase of his career seriously or not, and in comparison to a lot of his peers, he’s setting a prime example of how a true professional should broach a project as ambitious as this one is. Compared to what we heard some eleven years ago in his debut, he’s on a quantum level here for sure.

Deceptively simple and relentlessly relatable even when its star singer isn’t crooning a single word to us, +11 Hours is a breakthrough moment for Conor Maynard that sounds and feels more like a summer daydream than it does a ten-track album recorded from within the confines of a recording studio. There’s a sweetness to Maynard’s voice that was never present before now in this LP, and though there’s still room for continued growth, I think that you would be hard-pressed to find another artist in his class that has matured as much as he has in the last couple of years. He’s on the right track toward his ultimate goal is international superstardom, and after you listen to his latest release, I have a feeling that you’re going to agree with me.

Heather Savage

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