If it hadn’t been for an unfortunate clash with an event I had to attend, I would have been at Whammy a few weeks back to hear Goodnight My Darling, (Maxine Macaulay), and now I have listened to her debut album I so wish I had been able to make it. Still, at least this is now available so those of us who were unable to make it to the tour (last two dates this coming weekend in Wellington and Kāpiti) can enjoy this relaxed pleasant romp through different elements of soft pop rock, singer songwriter and shoegaze. This is not a solo release, rather it is a full band, but I must confess to not knowing who was involved and whether it is the same group of musicians throughout, as she says, ““It represents a collective experience, with the pandemic being at the forefront of my mind, but deeper than that, a snapshot of time and space. This relates directly to the themes in the songs but also applies to the making of the album. For this project I really reached out collaboratively, more than I have ever done artistically, and this has elevated my work.” 

What I can say is that she has a wonderfully clear vocal style, which is never forced yet somehow is always at the very centre of everything, so even if the band are playing in a more abrasive and rockier style (such as on Let Me Sit Awhile) she appears to be somewhat removed, the calm before the storm, the eye of the hurricane. The songs all contain different flavours, although they are centred around indie rock and pop with large elements of shoegaze, but that covers a multitude of styles and the result is a very broad album indeed. We can have picked acoustic guitar and the feeling of psychedelia (He Died In May) or something which is dramatic containing country style lap steel (The Carriage), yet whatever genre she is playing is the one which seems to be the one she should be spending more time in as it sounds so natural. Maxine is at home with whatever she is doing, and surely it cannot be too long before she is picked up by a label, as this is a fresh sounding release with loads of promise and Goodnight My Darling is an artist I am going to keep an eye on. 8/10