Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through Tin Angel Records, Really Well, the forthcoming album by the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based indie rock band Mauno reportedly finds the band — Eliza Niemi (vocals, bass), Nick Everett (vocals, guitar), Scott Boudreau (guitar) and Adam White (drums) — exploring the creases in intimacy, authenticity and labor and their preoccupations with the nature of creative labor, relationships and the self under capitalism. And while rooted in sobering daily concerns, the band notes that their critiques are often filtered through the lens of the absurd, which gives the band — and in turn, the album’s material — a playful, ridiculous air. “There’s something about humour and laughter that is very subversive and deeper than I think a lot of people realize,” the band’s Eliza Niemi says in press notes. “With these songs, I was trying to sort of dance on the one.” Adds the band’s Nick Everett, “There’s a double meaning to everything. You have to leave space for people to think. Where is the place for the listener if they’re not going to contribute their own thoughts or their own interpretations?”
Earlier this summer, I wrote about the slow-burning album single “Vampire,” a track centered around shimmering guitars, shimmering guitars, shuffling drums, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook. And while immediately recalling 120 Minutes-era like alt rock, the mischievous song focuses on the pride and utter ridiculousness of creative labor in a capitalist world that doesn’t really value it much. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Take Care” is a decidedly different affair from it’s predecessor: centered around jangling and jagged guitars, shuffling drums and Niemi’s delicate vocals, the song finds its narrator calmly expressing ambivalence, frustration and resentment. “‘Take Care’ is a play on words — it’s about caregiving as a woman, and also about saying goodbye. It is about filling the role of taking care of someone and self-identifying through that, while simultaneously resenting the expectation of having to do so. The chorus begins hinting at waiting for a relationship to finally feel reciprocal, and ends with the reveal of me actually waiting for it to fall apart, knowing all along that it was doomed,” the band’s Eliza Niemi explains in press notes.
Directed by Max Taeuschel, the recently released video for “Take Care” features the band’s songwriting duo of Nick Everrett and Eliza Niemi in matching royal blue jumpsuits as though they were prepping for a surgical procedure. Suddenly gloved hands come from just outside of the frame, preparing Mauno’s songwriting duo for shipping — including slapping on price tags and swaddling in bubble wrap and plastic wrap. Somehow the band’s songwriting duo manage to have dispassionate expressions on their faces, despite being treated like products, and being essentially tortured. It’s a gorgeous and surrealistic fever dream that’s both hilarious and unsetting.