I could write for days about why I love New Wave; in fact, I might as well considering my lengthier excursions on Drone. Looking back, the idea of fusing pop sensibility with the spirit of punk seems like nothing a total no-brainer. It was inevitable and pure rock ’n’ roll. Only where bands like Led Zeppelin had testicles, New Wave artists had ridiculously effeminate haircuts. What New Wave did better than anything else was turn the pop song inside out with simplicity.
John Maus is one of the most promising adherents to the New Wave method, and he has one of the best voices. His album We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is a most righteous album that hits immediately thanks to great hooks and strong vocals, but the record grows deeper. The hooks and more absurd vocals jump out, but the spirit of pop experimentalism opens the record to multiple listens.
His live performances are notable for their raw energy, which may be diminished in the studio. That said, he absolutely owns his sound, and the songs on We Must Become stand out as strong examples of pop redefined.