By Holly Miller
Standing in the crowd of the ‘Quiet Indie Library’ set in the Lending Room, two days after the release of their first single ‘Room for Requirement’, there is a sense that the band mmiv have found their stride. Each live performance is tighter and more confident. The band - formed when bassist Charlie noticed what lead-singer Max was posting through the University of Leeds Band Society pages - created a memorable and varied set with their new drummer Jasper. It displayed the strength of the older songs (including the new single) as well as showcasing their new material. As a band, they have become a strong unit in the incredibly short space of a year.
Songwriter Max says that their new single, ‘Room for Requirement,’ is “indebted” to life at the university - it is a song written during his first semester of first year, about the period of transition coming from a small rural area to the overwhelming big city. The song is about celebrating the life of a student, even at the times when it can be bewildering. Max acknowledges that wanting these experiences to be the best times of your life is a sort of cliche, one that the self-defacing humour of the lyrics underwrites, as well as playing into it.
For me, the single conveys this mix of underlying unease and the desire to let go simultaneously, as when the upbeat chorus breaks the mellow, lo-fi verses with a cautious “I don’t need nothing now, maybe a home,/Maybe I’m better off dancing alone” is masked by the distractingly optimistic melody. The whirling mix of emotions expressed through the song echoes the often bewildering experiences of the first few months of university; where you can feel torn about missing the familiar, but then something exciting comes along and whirls you in a different direction. This combination of chilled verses (as well as the excellent riff at 2:30, which is worth the wait) and the incredibly catchy chorus is good blend of disorientating, conflicting sensations through charting the ups and downs of those first uncertainties of university life.
Not only is the new single about the university experience of Leeds, but the band themselves are well-embedded in the university band scene. The new drummer Jasper is part of funk band Everyday People and both bassist Charlie and Jasper were previous members of Turn Stones. Student bands at the University of Leeds follow in the long line of successful alumni - more recently, Bastille, Ting Tings and Alt-J - that formed at this university. Max believes something has fallen off in recent years compared to what was available for bands previously. He talked about the lack of equipped rehearsal space for musicians at the union, despite the bands asking consistently for such spaces that were available in previous years. However, independent university bands have found their support through The Library Pub and 360 Club, who Max says are a huge support for aspiring artists in Leeds. To be able to add to the impressive list of successful musicians that have formed and thrived at the University of Leeds, the union needs to work harder to preserve the rehearsal spaces that were available in previous years for future artists.
‘Room for Requirement’ is available to stream now! https://open.spotify.com/track/3h5njGDKcBhsw4Z37rymHr?si=zXl0jnsXQdK6FKTvqeGBnQ