Conor Maynard’s “+11 Hours”

Every album has an identity, no matter how experimental said identity may be, but when it comes to pinning down the style of Conor Maynard’s +11 Hours, conventional genre terminology just doesn’t cut it. “If I Ever,” the record’s first track following a short intro, gets us more than a little excited with a cosmopolitan groover much in the same way that the pulse-based “I’m Here Forever” washes us with melodic textures that are anything but devoid of color.

“How Am I” might not have the sonic nucleus that the exotic “By Your Side” does, but let’s face it – the two songs make for a delicious cocktail when consumed within the same sitting. Whether it be the familiar beat of “By Your Side” or the relentless swing of “I’m Here Forever,” Maynard isn’t shortchanging us on sonic brilliance in +11 Hours; contrarily, I think this is one artist who is breaking off even more than most listeners will know what to do with this summer. Overindulgence isn’t a part of the formula, but if you’re in the mood for something littered with over-the-top catharsis on all fronts, this is an LP that you need to get your hands on this month. 

“Storage,” “Dark Side,” and the heart-stopping “A Different Way” are incredibly muscular in their own unique ways, but regardless of which track in the trio you listen to first, you’re going to notice that the vocal is always the main star of the show. Maynard has a versatility that can’t be practiced into existence – you’ve either got this kind of talent or you don’t, and lucky for all of us, he’s sharing his gifts without holding anything back in +11 Hours.

The drums are a little loud in the mix during “By Your Side” and the lustrous “Enemies,” but I can understand the intended concept for sure. By increasing the scope of the percussive presence, it makes it easier for us to zero in on all of the intricacies in the vocal harmonies here (which is a win-win for all parties considered). Although this is a solo project, the synthetic elements in the sound are very warm and organic in tone, which is a lot more than I can say for some of the other artists I’ve reviewed in the past few months. 

There’s still a lot of room for Maynard to continue growing into the sound that he’s set forth for this brand in the future, but as of now, I think his is a story that most indie disciples are going to want to keep up with. While boldly experimental around every turn, +11 Hours stings with an emotionality that almost any listener can relate to, regardless of their preferred genre of melodic music. This is material that doesn’t ask anything from us in return for a plethora of aural treasures inside of eight tenacious tracks (plus the intro and outro, which provide a cinematic prologue/epilogue without debate), and I for one hope to see more like it from Conor Maynard as the years go by. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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