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Reviewed by Jasper West

DC Maxwell: Lone Rider

Reviewed by Jasper West

DC Maxwell: Lone Rider

After a hiatus from music following the tragic death of two close friends, Roidz frontman D.C. Maxwell, aka Daniel Smith, is back with his heart on his sleeve and a brutally matured writing style.

Singing stories of anguish, alcoholism, bank robberies, and BDSM, ‘Lone Rider’ embodies characteristics of many while being the most honest and personal work from Maxwell yet. A recent break from music found him studying creative writing at university, which comes through in spades with songs like The Last Stand Of The Killer, an old folk ballad style tale, or Prizefighter which touches on self-destruction and masculinity.

Recorded for Danger Collective Records with producer Peter Ruddell (Sulfate, Wax Chattels), the album features Hawaiian lap steel performed by Levi Gemmell, along with The Beths‘ Liz Stokes on trumpet, Dave Kahn (Marlon Williams, Reb Fountain) playing violin and David Harris on drums. Faultline boasts a highlight performance on cello from Kathleen Tomacruz complimenting Maxwell with unique lines and seamless emersion.

The spacious nature of the recordings throughout leaves room for the bold textures of the orchestra to be appreciated, which hammers home the raw and authentic delivery from D.C. Maxwell and his band. Vivid storytelling in The Last Stand Of The Killer paired with his forceful yet desperate voice evokes an unlikely feeling of empathy for the song’s anti-hero.

The album plays like an old school LP. While the first side is more upbeat and palatable, the second dives deeper into tough themes and leaves less to our imagination. Opening the album with the tracks I’ve Been Wrong and Leading Man D.C. Maxwell doesn’t reinvent the wheel but he makes a really darn good example of one. Silence In The Sky gives a first taste of what is to come from the rest of the album. A short song with an infectious vamp, Maxwell leaves us hanging off the edge of a cliff wishing for a reprise, a technique he uses again in the closing tracks.

With a hook-filled start and a gut-wrenching end, D.C. Maxwell takes country music fans swiftly through a story book of emotions with lives lived on the outskirts. His soulful and raw delivery captures the desperation in his narratives, paired with dynamic and contemplated production, one can imagine Maxwell’s spit, sweat and tears dripping off the microphone in a big empty hall. ‘Lone Rider’ only gets better with each listen.