Foremostly known for their escapades with The Vaccines, Indie-Rock duo Justin Young and Timothy Lanham attempt to cement their status as vibrant wordsmiths with their second E.P in six months, leading to questionable results.
Maserati Anxiety Designed is an extended project written, produced, and released as a follow up to March’s Morning Kiss at the Acropolis. Taking itself considerably less seriously than tracks such as the emotionally wrought ‘My Baby Looks Good With Another’, Young and Lanham evidently have a lot of fun writing for Halloweens.
Despite Youngs lyrics bordering on absurdly left field, there is something so idiosyncratic and familiar about his lyricism- drawing favourable comparisons to between Kasabian’s “Eez-Eh” . Nonchalantly all too aware of its ridiculousness, “Alligator Jackie, why so snappy?” stands out as the obvious example of Youngs ability to bleed an entire track from a simple rhyme, with a slow groove and keyboard ornamentation complimenting subtle synth-pop and aiding the tracks obliviousness to professional songwriting standards.
It is evident that away from The Vaccines, in the shadows of albums such as Combat Sports and the ethereally celestial What Did You Expect?… , Young and Lanham have found collaborative space to transcend their indie roots, and indulge in softer, synth driven, cleanly produced pop. Tones of their origins remain, with the faster ‘Trophies for Pain’ bearing the most resemblance to any Vaccines track, observing the vibrant wordplay (“straight to the clipper, Venetian slippers on the dash”) that Young has become revered for, but accelerating with a recognisably bouncy bass line supporting a chaotic, yet light synth orchestration.
‘Lights on Baby’ and the eponymous ‘Maserati Anxiety Designed’ are the standout tracks, providing easy listening bass-driven grooves, funky synth solos and keyboard ornamentation. However, at times the album becomes bogged down in its desire to be different, pushing too hard to make every other line rhyme, such as on Divinity Pools, unmistakably influenced by Depeche Mode. The aforementioned ‘Trophies for Pain’ and ‘Alligator Jackie’ both become annoyingly dull after more than a few listens, as lyrics that were funky become seemingly lazy (“My refrigerator, an equator”).
The project is an enjoyable easy-listen for Vaccines fans, yet flatters to deceive when compared to its denser predecessor Morning Kiss at the Acropolis. Perhaps Halloweens strength is in their willingness to be unashamedly silly, and fearlessness to grapple with a new project (after all this is a duo that played their entire Leeds 2018 set at twice the speed it should have been). Maybe we should all learn to take ourselves a little less seriously, and simply enjoy this project for what it is; a vivacious and fun E.P with no clear intention to break new ground, but an unabashed desire to honour what has come before it.
Last modified: 29th August 2020