Jon Sandman – Maybe

We were excited to see Jon Sandman’s, Maybe, in our reviews list for this morning. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to his band, Pylon Heights, recently as well as his previous single, Dear Friends. Today we’re reviewing his solo project again. We remember Pylon Heights with great fondness and talk often about how captivating the lyrics were to their heartbreaking song, VHS.

Sandman’s solo work takes you in a different direction. “Maybe” is an exciting track with a great deal of rise and fall. As a song that’s almost 6 minutes long, its sadly unlikely to be picked up for a great deal of airplay, however, there’s something about it that feels perfect for sync. There’s lots of things happening and different sections and because of a fairly lengthy instrumental section at the beginning it feels a perfect track to set a scene in a movie.

The instrumental start has lots happening, as we mentioned. All kinds of different instruments coming and going, but predominantly strings, single notes on the piano and some vocal “oohs” and “aahs”.
The vocals in the song are very present and buzzy. They grab your attention. There’s also some very gentle harmonies in places that back up the lead vocal nicely. As the song develops there’s lots of sounds coming and going – it kind of wraps you up in a swirly warm blanket and you just settle in for the ride.

Its not until well after 2 minutes into the song that the full drum kit comes in. There’s a really unique and attention demanding rhythm on the hi-hat that almost feels like a swing rhythm while the kick and snare are playing straight. It grabs your attention and forces you to listen to it.

The rise and fall in the song is very well done. Just when you think there can’t be any more instruments to add, the whole track breaks down to just gentle piano, a little bass and a few synth like sounds before it bursts back in with the full sound. Special note of the wind effect at the end of the track – something about it just really fitted.

As more instruments are added to the mix their clarity is just lost a little. It feels as though a lot of the instruments are trying to occupy the same frequency range making them lose definition and for us, this detracted slightly from our enjoyment of the song. Perhaps consider ensuring each instrument is given more of its own space in the EQ range. We’d suggest just a little shelf dip of the lower 3 octaves in the song as it gets a little boomy in places.
There are places where the only thing in the low end is the kick. To us, it makes upper end sound a little tinny between hits. The low shelf should help resolve this. We’d also suggest a little dip around the 4-5kHz in the drum track to combat a little harshness.

Maybe is a song of hope and a reminder to drop our emotional baggage. A really atmospheric and interesting song that reminds us to trust our instincts. We look forward to hearing more from Jon Sandman, in whatever capacity he produces his next masterpiece!