Maikoh Webbe is a regular kid who makes beats and songs in his bedroom’. It’s an unpretentious but apt description, not only for factual accuracy.
Everything about Webbe’s latest single ‘Kyoto’ is DIY. Understated self-produced bedroom pop. His voice is fragile, bent into place by occasional vocal manipulations while guitars jangle as if Webbe has just discovered Johnny Marr.
This sums to heartening if primitive results. Webbe’s wholeheartedness, particularly as he hopes to use his music to destigmatize discussing mental health, is audible, and his self-led approach brings a certain sweetness.
But with ‘Kyoto’, Webbe almost sounds like he’s learning on-the-job. The song has a good heart but repetitious choruses don’t progress into more than quiet contemplations about ‘sipping tea in the Kyoto breeze’.
Likewise, so intent is Webbe to profess that ‘there comes a time when we choose to do or die’ that you wonder if that time didn’t pass a few verses previously.
However, Webbe gets two things spot on. By self-producing, he remains grounded, never overextending his production into something overmixed. Some instrumental passages have their quirks, but they’re consistently characterful.
As important is the temperament that led him to do this. It would be a cliché to say he makes music for ‘the right reasons’ – whatever that means – but Webbe’s songwriting is genuine, through-and-through.
In this way he reminds me of Quadeca, the Youtuber-turned-musician whose first musical forays weren’t necessarily spectacular but were productive nonetheless. His subsequent music has been praised universally. Hopefully Webbe follows a similar trajectory.