Written by Imani Wj Wright
Being someone who has delved deeply into opera, and musical theatre, I appreciate when an artist can evolve with, and into, the “character” they are portraying in the piece. I have experienced, listened, and even performed many forms of music in my life, and I know from first hand experience how difficult it can be to bring out the character completely within a 3-5 minute time span. The aforementioned ability to do so is no problem for They Call Me Max (TCMM).
My first experience listening to Snake-Tooth Marrow was accompanied by a visual that showed TCMM in a dark room with what seems to be broken bricks. TCMM is also dressed in a very “humble” manner, to say the least. For those of you who will experience this piece for the first time with the visual, you will understand how much of a difference it will make in your perception of the song. TCMM’s bass voice hauntingly hits your ears in the opening seconds and instantly sets the joyless mood. Shortly after his vocals seep into the track, there comes a perfectly fitting piano melody. The piano reminds me of something the great French composer Erik Satie would compose. There’s nothing typical in regard to the style of the vocals.
Rhythmically, there was never a moment where I could figure out what was coming next. It was as if he was writing a stream of consciousness. Whatever he wanted to express, was expressed as soon as he felt it. TCMM did not wait on the melody, or even follow the conventional usages of rhythm. This style that he executed gives the audience a sense of urgency and realism. I won’t spoil the story that he tells in Snake-Tooth Marrow, but I will recommend you to go check it out (preferably with the video / visual).
They Call Me Max on Instagram: @Maxtheycallme