Immersive pop-rock from a Dutch artist wh0’s not afraid to hit the bottom to make a splash.
Peter Lebbink, or Maks A, has been around for a long time, but it took a bout of overseas touring to come up with a solo debut. Although its title and artwork suggest shallowness, “3 Ft No Diving” has a lot of depth in the space between the raving raga of instrumental intro “Portal” to the equally cinematic, and short, finale of “Snow” that brings triumph to the table. Yes, the percussive lead-in to “Lay Down Low” may betray Lebbink’s inclination to mainly be a drummer, but the piece’s organ-oiled psychedelic punch is rather easy on the ear.
It also is as infectious as plague, burrowing into the listener’s lobes and refusing to leave despite the track’s inherent blues that would also float to the surface with a multi-layered lysergic take on Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway” which is given a funny funereal march and hypnotic groove. Unlike it, “Last Thing On Your Mind” could reach for a prog jugular had this track’s baroque intent not been undercut by a healthy dose of funk, yet “Look At You” picks up the slack of sadness to quicken the pace and the pulse, planting optimism all around, as does the upbeat upgrade of “Waiting For The Man” Lou Reed would surely approve of.
Marrying sharp riff to acoustic strum and playfully packing it up for a shuffle, “Career” is where mirrorball reflections swing fiercely in the most transfixing, if aurally sleazy, fashion, while “The Gods In My Head” is stung by guitar and flute solos to go for a defiantly dramatic swirl on the same dancefloor, and “Critical Mess” skips a light fandango in favor of a ballad madness. Still, for all the humor behind the desperate “Xhair” whose flow is overtly theatrical and almost spills over to shape a hard rock kind of swagger, “Winter In Vegas” resolves in a sincere, touching twang to bare a pop nerve to it all. Diving’s isn’t required, then, but delving is.