Album Review

Drew Worthley & No Spinoza – Maxim: Album Review

Drew Worthley and No Spinoza combine on Maxim – a set of ten reworked nursery rhymes.

Release Date:  28th March 2022

Label: Bandcamp

Formats: digital / CD

Here’s an interesting take on reworking and reimagining. It comes as standard with folk songs and tunes – the oral tradition – but how many have done the same with nursery rhymes? Probably more than you can imagine, but Maxim is a collaboration between Drew Worthley and York-based No Spinoza. Their very own collection of 10 ‘rewoven’ Nursery Rhymes.

There is some form. Thomas Pearson, as No Spinoza, has written and produced two solo albums of electronic folk song as Maxim comes born of the slow burn of remote collaboration and the duo’s shared passion for experimentation with musical heritage. The shaping of childhood curiosities – I can’t find any evidence of their own children which would also seem to give a purpose to the project – results in nursery rhymes given an avant-garde wash complete with synths, strings and percussion.

Aside from the stabs of strings, Three Blind Mice could easily be something that Elbow would produce while Sing A Song Of Sixpence gets a drums and bass treatment. And so it goes on. The gentle arrangement of Hey Diddle Diddle with a limited thimbleful of acoustic guitar is perhaps more in keeping with expectations. All Play School / Camberwick Green, it probably conforms with our memories of early children’s TV programmes.

Talking of Elbow, the Craig Potter style of slightly discordant and ‘make it up as you go’ piano style (which is a disservice) is at the core of Jack And Gill and that avant-garde ambience plays strongly through Pat-A-Cake. Pattering (naturally) percussion underlies a slowly building intensity until the five and a half minutes concludes with an unexpected dynamism.

That experimentalist approach combines with more trad folk style arrangements – we just listened to The Trials Of Cato’s version of a piece based around Ring O’ Roses (whether or not it’s actually connected with the Great Plague of 1665 or not). One way or the other, these rhymes are given an interesting new shot of life. Nursery rhymes – the lost art – maybe Maxim will reboot what was once a rite of growing up.

Maxim was released on 28 March 2022, preceded by a selection of single launches and artistic curio collaborations.

Watch the official video for The Grand Old Duke Of York from the album here:

Drew Worthley online:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

No Spinoza online:  Website / Instagram

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