When they started out, Perth’s My Majestic Star was actually just guitarist Chris Mason, and on his own he made its debut, Ideas Are the Answer, one of the very few instrumental shoegaze albums actually worth your time. Palpably a solitary, late-night kind of record, it was sharply observed and emotionally resonant enough to earn every one of its 55 minutes.
By the time I Haven’t Got It in Me rolled around, the band’s working methods had changed, if not the quality of its music. My Majestic Star is now a proper quartet, and the inclusion of Miriam Braun’s cello along with Mason’s distinctive, rich lead guitar opened up a whole new palette to the band. But if 2008’s Too Late, the Day now seems a bit transitional, with extra musicians and the occasional vocal added to Mason’s sleepy muse for the first time, I Haven’t Got It in Me is a hell of a consolidation. Both Mason and Braun sing this time, and “Crampling” and “City Sleeps” are both great verse/chorus/verse songs in a way that the band has never tried before. But the band’s instrumental prowess hasn’t declined — the surging “Hi” and the eight despondently cinematic minutes of opener “Stranger” are among their strongest work.
From the soaring guitar scrapes of “Mitre Park” to “Take a Walk”‘s melancholy churn, I Haven’t Got It in Me is the work of a band completely comfortable with each other and with their sound. Combining elements of dream pop, post rock, and shoegaze, and with tips of the hat to everything from noise to ambient, My Majestic Star makes beautifully blurred rock music. But while Ideas Are the Answer practically demanded solitude to appreciate its lonely charm, this record marks not just My Majestic Star’s second great album, but the point where it becomes a great band as well.