Forgotten series: The Maharajas – In Pure Spite (2007)

Never let it ever be said that The Maharajas do not rock, if that ever happens, because they do — and do so quite righteously here.

Their high-octane Rocker “Repo Man” sets the pace for In Pure Spite (Low Impact Records). “One Man Team” tag-teams that first song, in case you were in doubt with the above statement.

The aptly named 1970s-style hard-rocker “Suckerpunch” perfectly describes the feeling you’ll get with this album and the group in general. “One Leg On Each Side” continues that Maharaja tradition of fine, moody mid-tempo ballads, with some tasty organ fills to boot.

Lead singer/guitarist Mathias Lilja’s singing had matured to perfection by 2007. One of the two big changes within this group for this album was bassist Ulf Guttormsson’s dominance in the songwriting department. In Pure Spite, their fourth album, features 11 original Guttormsson songs along with a 12th (“The Boy Inside”) co-written by leader/guitarist Jens Lindberg. That particular mid-tempo track really benefits from the collaboration, and perhaps sounds the most different here. It’s quite catchy as a result.

Jens contributes only two new compositions (“Yeah Yeah,” “Split Personality”), but no lead vocals for the first time on their albums — which is a damn shame. The other big change is the addition of brand new drummer Ricard Harryson, who joined the group in the summer of 2006. A pretty seemless transition to me, as I don’t really hear any big difference sonically from departing original drummer Anders Öberg — and I loved Anders’ drumming.

“Alaska Beach” gets back into moody organ ballad territory, with some excellent guitar work. A nice Byrds/Creation amalgam and more organ fills for “Maybe She Loves You” help drive this fine tune. Lindberg’s “Split Personality” continues his love affair with all things in the original rock ‘n’ roll realm, and “Yeah Yeah” gets your blood pumping. The man can write catchy songs that will stay with you.

The Maharajas have released consistent quality albums that do not disappoint, and here’s yet another one to add to your collection.

The Maharajas’ ‘In Pure Spite’ is available through Low Impact Records here: http://www.myspace.com/lowimpactrecords.

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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