Shirley & the Pyramids 
Maid of Time 

Grey Records • 2023

Maid of Time rewards your attention if you dedicate time to absorb its many spirals and diversions.

I recently induced an existential crisis as I ate my overnight oats one morning by absentmindedly clicking a link about quantum physics and the true nature of time. Spoiler alert: it’s not the political and sociological construct enslaving us. The fact that I can’t even find the link on my social media timeline (Ha! As if time is even linear!) has me wondering when and where in time I actually read the article. Like a lot of time over the course of these pandemic years, the details are awash in gauzy tendrils that don’t have a clearly defined beginning and end. 

Time has also played a part in the life of Saskatoon-based band Shirley & the Pyramids. Their sound is timeless—a heady mix of melody and reverb-drenched guitar interplay that invokes descriptors like psychedelia, shoegaze, and krautrock—is timeless. They could exist at any number of points along the modern rock continuum. Maid of Time, their latest release, is borne out of the time principal member Aron Zacharias spent working on music in isolation, unsure of when, where, or how Shirley & the Pyramids would exist in a post-pandemic world. In a recent interview with North Sask Music Zine, Zacharias explains how the concept of the band (which started as a solo project) changed since its inception: “My first couple albums I would write and record all the music myself, and the band would play live with me. Over the last couple years, and with this new album especially, it’s become more collaborative, in the sense that everybody is playing on the record… It’s a very cool transitional period for us; I feel like this album is the first time we’re solidified as a band and is not just my weird pet project.”

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He is a bit humble when it comes to his early solo work. Shirley & the Pyramids’ self-titled 2016 album and 2018’s Pure Pain are solid and cohesive front-to-back offerings, and Maid of Time slips easily into the canon alongside his previous work with nary a hiccup or bump. Still, there’s an undeniable next-levelness to the album that comes from its collaborative nature. Right from its ripping motorik-fueled opener, “Sapanta Blue,” Maid of Time flows in and out of dark, decadent, and deliciously textured sound. Early single “Infinity Blues” is a looping drone of fuzzy guitars that I’d happily hear go on forever. “Trouble” is anything but. It is a slow-burning, contemplative dirge that effortlessly adds to the album’s mystique and aura.

Maid of Time rewards your attention if you dedicate the time to absorb its many spirals and diversions. Its disorientating, tension-building arrangements and potent melodicism are Shirley & the Pyramids at their cohesive finest. Maid of Time is both a distillation of Zacharias’ vision for the project he started alone and a calling card for the collaboration it has become.

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