John Maus Addendum Domino Records
The thought of music by contemporary intellectuals is often a daunting prospect. Who, after all, hasn’t imagined Slavoj Zizek dropping his much-anticipated debut and winced? Still, there are exceptions and John Maus, perhaps, sits chief among them. A continuation of sorts from 2017’s Screen Memories, Addendum is both what it sets out to be and an album very much in its own right. A collection of 12 songs worthy of their place within the Maus canon, rather than just a bookend, it’s heavily armed with both a poignancy and a much-needed kind of dance-yourself-happy, laissez faire attitude.
Opening with sludgy bass notes and tight snare hits, on first impressions Outer Space can’t help bring to mind Mark Mothersbaugh’s irrepressible Life Aquatic score. But, joined quickly by synthesiser chimes more akin to Tears for Fears and Maus’ own recognisably laconic vocals, the combination makes clear very quickly that Addendum is content neither to be a pop culture echo nor a nostalgic tribute. Like Running Man earlier, 1987 makes no bones about betraying the influences it wears so visibly; the former, bizarrely, has tinges of Men Without Hats’ Safety Dance, while the latter – perhaps even more strangely – veers sharply and exhilaratingly at one point towards a convergence with Pulp’s Common People. As a record, Addendum is both a surprising collage of not-quite-disparate influences and a whole that nearly sums up Maus’ eclecticism, esotericism and singular vision. Many things at once, it is far from simply a coda.