Mae
The Everglow


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joe Shadduck USER (17 Reviews)
February 6th, 2007 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mae's sophomore album is an alternative rock adventure that tells a story while delivering consistently high-quality music. The band is showcased in this album, though certain sides of their songs were not given quite enough track time.

Mae is:
Dave Elkins - Vocals, Guitar
Jacob Marshall - Drums
Mark Padgett - Bass
Rob Sweitzer - Keyboards
Zach Gehring - Guitar

Mae is one of those bands that really deserves alot more mainstream attention than they get. They're accessible, catchy (though the hooks are not as empty as most pop-punk), and extremely talented. There is no screaming, which most radio stations seem to shy away from, but the music on "The Everglow", Mae's 2005 sophomore release, carries some fairly heavy guitars, at least for an alternative rock album.

The joy of Mae lies in their ability to deliver an adequately coherent storyline through a roller-coaster ride of an album which explores nearly every corner of alt-rock and indie to this point. The band is clearly trying their hardest, which sometimes works to their disadvantage, but despite some longwinded tracks and over-pretentious lyrics, "The Everglow" is a wonderful album that for the most part succeeds in the mission it set out to accomplish.

One can clearly get an idea of Mae's ambitous presentation with the opening moments of the album. "Prelude" is an 8-measure repeating piano track in which the "narrator" of the album informs you that you are listening to "The Everglow, by Mae" and suggests that you read the booklet lyrics and look at the watercolor pictures as you listen to "your journey". The setup is much like the book-cassette stories you used to read when you were in kindergarten, and is most likely intentionally so, as the whole album has sort of a whimsical-yet-epic feel to it.

The first real song, "We're So Far Away", is what really sets the stage for the journey to come. This song is quite possible the best piano song ever written, with Dave Elkins crooning out a retrospective look at the story to come over an absolutely gorgeous piano piece with synthesizers coming in at the emotional climax of the song. It's an absolutely perfect song, and nearly brought tears to my eyes when I first heard it (something that doesn't happen often).

The next track, "Someone Else's Arms", is where the guitars finally come in. I've never been a fan of this song, although it has some nice vocals and a maddeningly hard-to-follow rythmn guitar. Immediately following is "Suspension", apparently a single even though I have never heard it on radiowaves. Again, lovely vocals and a driving guitar (which becomes the pattern for the better part of the album). "Suspension" is a noticeable step up from "Someone Else's Arms" in terms of songwriting, and the album keeps getting better with the following track, "This is the Countdown". The predictable thing to do would have been to insert cheesy clock noises into this track, but instead Mae have chosen to switch between 5/4 time for the verses and then a more standard 4/4 in the soaring chorus. "Countdown" is definitely a highlight for the CD, but stands in the foreboding shadow of the next track.

Up until "Painless", all the songs have been in major keys, giving them a fairly happy-go-lucky feel (which IMO gets annoying after awhile... but maybe I'm too emo rocker lol). "Painless" shatters that trend as the story takes an appropriately more depressing turn. A palm-muted guitar soaked in echo and delay begins the song only to be interrupted by the Mae-standard Dropped-D guitar backed up by subtle keyboards. "Painless" is an absolutely stunning and complex track and remains one of my favorite from the Everglow. If you want an introduction to mae, I highly reccomind downloading this song.

The intense "Painless" gives way to the soothingly piano-driven "The Ocean", which features one of the best vocal performances on the CD. Next is the disappointingly boring "Breakdown", which seems to drag on forever and is by far the weakest song on The Everglow.

"Mistakes We Knew We Were Making" features a simple yet utterly satisfying chorus of "la la la dee daa"s which really show off the subtle goodness of Mae vocals. However, the song is weighed down by a repetitive outro which could have been replaced by a third chorus. "Cover Me" is probably the strangest song on the CD and is another one of my favorites. It starts deceptively soft but then explodes into a forebodingly dark (at least for this album) chorus. The bridge is what really makes "Cover Me" spectacular. Piano and palm-muted guitar begin softly and then are gradually joined by more guitar and synthesizer with each repetition (a trick that Mae uses several times on the album to great effect). "Cover Me" is an amazing song and is most definitely a reccomended download.

The title track of The Everglow is the shortest, but features the most epic-sounding chorus. You can heard this song on Mae's Myspace *pretends not to have a Myspace* Immediately following the climactic title track is "Ready And Waiting To Fall", by far the most powerful song lyrically on the album. "Anything" another highlight with a fantastic lead guitar part and beautiful lyrics. The disc closes with "The Sun and Moon", another piano ballad which erupts into a spectacular finish that bleeds into "Epilogue", which is basically "prelude" with a different message from the narrator.

While nearly every song on The Everglow is amazing, there are some problems with the album as a whole. As you'll notice as you listen to the CD, every song is a guitar-driven anthem except for the opening and closing tracks (that's excluding "prelude" and "epilogue"). Mae set out to create an epic-sounding album but failed to realize that an epic album needs downs as well as ups. Thus, The Everglow ends up sounding repetitive, which is a shame since the quality of some of the songs is lost to the constant loud-ness of the CD. Clocking in at over an hour long, the relentless emotion of the guitar songs makes listening to this album all the way through somewhat of a chore which could have been easily remedied by throwing some high-quality ballads into the mix. A positive effect to this unfortunate oversight is that both piano ballads are all the better because of their scarcity.

Misgivings aside, The Everglow is an indespensible part of any music lover's collection. Due to its accessibility, anyone but the most diehard metalheads should be able to enjoy it, provided they can deal with a tender love story (which I have intentionally left open to interpretation to any readers ;-P). 4 is about the harshest score I could have given this album. Highly reccomended.



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excellent
other reviews of this album
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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
whatsgrimace
February 6th 2007


47 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Decent album. It kind of holds a lot of sentimental value for me, but other than that I don't really enjoy listening to it much anymore.

Good review.

trustxdialect
February 6th 2007


1502 Comments


Good review, but you drag on a little. A more generalized view might make the review seem quicker and sharper, but good none-the-less. You're kind of jump the gun on some songs, like 'We're So Far Away', but it's alright. I personally like 'The Ocean' better as far as piano driven songs on the album go.

I like this album a lot. I saw them in concert and they were fanastic. Really friendly as well, as they let us come backstage with them for no reason whatsoever.

NOTINTHEFACE
February 6th 2007


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I normally wouldn't have made it so track-by-track-ish but I felt that the presentation of this album called for at least a word about each song. Thanks for the tips.

I'm actually going to see them in March when they come to St. Louis. I am super pumped.

BlindGuy1012
February 6th 2007


252 Comments


Good review. I've kind of been intrigued by these guys, and I've been thinking about checking these guys out.

NOTINTHEFACE
February 6th 2007


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is a wonderful place to start. Their first seems to be alot mellower, which I like, but not as brilliant. But then I haven't heard the whole thing (almost, but not quite) so I can't give it a complete comparison.

NOTINTHEFACE
February 6th 2007


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, I don't want to be a ratings whore, but if you liked the review could you please very kindly vote? Thanks :-)

jrowa001
February 6th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review. ive been meaning to check this out. my friend said if i like Waking Ashland (which i do a lot), then i will like this. would you say so?

NOTINTHEFACE
February 6th 2007


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Can't say, since I've never heard your band lol. However, I see you're digging the Decemberists so I think it's safe to say you'd like it, even though it's not nearly as subtle an art as the Decemberists.

Abaddon2005
February 7th 2007


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet review for a fantastic album.

foreverendeared
February 7th 2007


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeh, waking ashland isn't as good imo as mae, but quite similar in musical styles. you'd like mae.

good review. and yes i'll vote... you vote whore!! ha jk

lunchforthesky
February 7th 2007


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Waking Ashland arent anywhere near as good as Mae as someone already said. Good review.

jrowa001
February 7th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so i checked out mae. theyre pretty good, i know itll slowly grow on me. the piano style reminds me a bit of waking ashland but mae's songwriting is wayy better.

Abaddon2005
February 8th 2007


684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree, hopefully they'll have a new album this year

lunchforthesky
February 8th 2007


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Their recording one at the moment so i expect good things.

bdizfoshiz
February 9th 2007


273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is good, but I liked Destination: Beautiful more. I don't like how they think that they have to play prettymuch all Everglow songs when they do shows. Like that's all anybody wants to hear. C'mon, go back to your roots, that's what people like more, and if they don't they will learn to.

lunchforthesky
February 9th 2007


1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Everglow is a better album, more consistent.

FightOffYourDemons
March 8th 2007


19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I agree with the whole story book approach to the album. Anything is by far my favorite song off this album. I am seeing them sometime at May so it will be interesting to see how they are live.

bdizfoshiz
March 9th 2007


273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They are really good live actually. One of the best live bands I've seen. This album is good, but not great like Destination: Beautiful.

skingle
March 9th 2007


48 Comments


I prefer this to destination: beautiful.

I heard this one first so maybe that has something to do with it.

They are both good cds though

Good review.

xmattxhardcore
June 4th 2007


422 Comments


Good review, only song I ever heard from these guys was "suspension", but I thought it was pretty good, maybe I'll download some more.



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