The inimitable John Maus returns with his fourth full-length album, Screen Memories. It has been six years since We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves appeared like a thunderbolt of maniacal energy and turned everyone's heads around. Maus' music is a highly mutable affair. Whilst often described as retro-futurist on behalf of the 80's drum machines and synth sounds employed, John's music is more personal than the nostalgic re-tread implied. He's more interested in seeking cadence, through his love of Renaissance polyphony and the experimentation behind post punk. It's an amalgamation of musical ideas as radical as its intent.
Screen Memories was written, recorded, and engineered by Maus over the last few years in his home in Minnesota, known genially as the Funny Farm. It's a solitary place situated in the corn plains of the rural American Midwest. The landscape is as majestic as it is austere and inevitably some of the sub-zero winter temperatures creep into the songs, as do the buzzing wasps of summer. Through the whole album Maus has an undeniable talent in grasping the mettle of each song, reaching within and building up a sincere core, before teasing out the edges in acknowledgement to the very ridiculousness of its existence. Rather than creating these songs through an enjoyment of the process Maus considers himself more in the role of someone discovering them buried just beneath the surface.
Perhaps the songs presented here are the ones that mask his real intentions, Freud pressing record and turning the TV channel to snow. All we can be certain of now though is that John Maus is back and he sounds gloriously alive. The triumph of the human is upon us and all the false gods and bad jokes will be the first to fall.