Guys with guitars are a dime a dozen. Who cares how good their “Wonderwall” covers are, you just don’t want to deal with them, right? Well, let’s just say if Maine-based songwriter Max Garcia Conover showed up at a party offering to play songs off of his full-length debut album Burrow, you wouldn’t tell him to leave.
Dubbed Maine’s Best New Act by the Portland Music Awards last year, Conover has been locked in his attic studio for the winter recording new material. Burrow puts you right there in that attic with him. Or in the presumably quaint, indie film festival home he lived in. Or at least lost in the woods somewhere nearby. Think about how Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago made listeners go take long walks in the woods by themselves, trudging through the snow just to find their favorite clearing to stand in and think about lost love. Conover is no Justin Vernon, but he sending out similar vibes.
Conover is a guitar guru, controlling the mood of each song masterfully. It’s ridiculous how much power and emotion Conover manages to squeeze into each brief song (Most tracks clock in at around 2:30). He wasn’t alone in the crafting of the album though, as Pete Morse assisted with production and a few hints of guitar here and there.
The album opens with “Teem,” a completely instrumental track. You feel oddly satisfied when it’s over. He must’ve said something, right? It’s an emotional journey with only music – a rare find in today’s music scene.
The title track holds its own, sticking out as the one song that clearly captures the message of the album. “The poet Keats about to die, says I swear I’ve more to do / Unmade poems spit and wind, never gonna get out never gonna have time,” sings Conover over one of the most comforting guitar melodies on the album. It’s all about working and creating your art until the day you die. It’s a heavy song, but 100 percent inspiring.
Sophie Nelson accompanies him through most of “New Beast,” making it a definite stand-out track. Who knows what they’re singing about in this one, but it sounds beautiful. Nelson complements Conover well. This would definitely be a phenomenal duo to watch perform live.
Burrow starts strong and never dies down. And this is a record that you can listen to in any mood. Grossly happy or terribly depressed, you’ve got a good record to put on with Burrow. It’s refreshing to have a one-man acoustic album to listen to that finds a middle ground emotionally. This is the perfect soundtrack as Maine finally (hopefully) begins to thaw out and the world seems full of new beginnings.