Pollen Odyssey, the debut EP from Bristol native Maybug, is startlingly quiet for the majority of its fourteen-or-so minute runtime. With the exception of the occasional thwack of hand meeting muted strings, the songs forgo percussion entirely; instead, entire worlds are built from pensive guitars that seem to seek out new destinations all on their own as the songwriter's vocals ebb and flow over the top.
That old saying about moving to the beat of a different drummer may be cliché, but it’s a pleasure keeping pace with Maybug’s unusual rhythm. Let him step to the music which he hears. On the strength of these three songs, Maybug could soon find himself leading the march.
Take a listen below and follow along with the artist's track-by-track guide. You can purchase Pollen Odyssey on iTunes.
I remember very little about the writing and recording of Out to Sea. Though the lyrics really stick out in my mind. Sometime ago, I had a long conversation with a Hotelier in Cornwall. During our conversation she had waved to a lady passing by the window. The Hotelier said to me that the lady she had just waved at was an artist, and that she was very calm, kind and quiet. The hotelier said, "Maybe she's like a Swan?" Cool and elegant but just below the surface, the swan was kicking away trying to stay afloat. I thought what a thing to say! So I wrote:
Serene like a swan,
The very picture of calm,
Gliding through the water,
You float upon,
Beneath the surface,
Where I don't see,
A restless struggle,
To keep up the scene,
And yet it seems,
This is the first song I wrote as Maybug. It is an ode (and/or poem, mediation even) to Winter Sunshine. I had quit University for the second time in two years. I had moved back home and I had no idea what I was going to do. I felt pretty down and withdrew myself from everyone in my life. So at the time, all I felt I had was the Winter Sunshine in which I was just walking about and trying to ignore everything. Eventually as time passed, I slowly started playing guitar again and piecing together some words. And Winter Sun was the first thing that came out of that.
A few months after writing "Winter Sun", things were pretty good and I had saved some money to go travelling about Europe with a friend. I was sitting in a hostel in Rome when I thought of the title, Pollen Odyssey. I had written "Pollen" over the course of a month or so and I was pretty taken with it. It captured the joy of travelling and of being in a foreign land. "Pollen" was quite unlike anything I had written before. I was trying to write songs in strange guitar tunings and I had started writing songs that were a bit more upbeat and even happy! (Quite a departure for me if you were to hear my evolution as a songwriter…)