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Mavis | The Mavis Crisis (On The Door)
Despite sporting a name which isn't exactly about to shake the foundations of the rock establishment to the ground, Mavis are Sunderland's newest spiky alternative collective. Led by mouth-mountain James McMahon, this quartet come to spike our drinks, hand us a dozen slogans and then leave us wiser and four new friends to the good. Mavis write joyously uncomplicated, heads-down, hook-laden, indie-pop songs, driven by an underdog's suspicion of the music industry and a will to succeed alongside a healthy artistic splatter of self-depreciation. Filled with rattling three-minute guitar blasts, call and response choruses, brittle vocal harmonies and mini-manifestos, this is a low budget, high ambition little gem of a record. Reminiscent of even lower-fi swipes at Love As Laughter, Seafood and Guided By Voices, Mavis throw us tiny lyrics of equal parts isolation, resignation and determination over cheaply-produced tunes that stride towards our ears, tripping over themselves all the way there. Their small-time ideology is tough to fault also, tipping nods along the way to Stanley Kubrick and Dee Dee Ramone amongst others, only totally losing the plot on the overtly predictable Clash-isms of 'Oh No, We Woke Up'. Terminally unfashionable underground pop scraping along the bedroom floor, sent to shake your hand and then slap you across the wrist, Mavis perform tiny musical armchair revolutions that won't change your life but also won't fail to make you smile.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002

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