Mae
The Everglow


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
August 1st, 2009 | 85 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I dare you not to be moved.

Like it or not, there's something special about this place. Whatever force you believe to be behind it - nature, god or otherwise - it's very difficult to deny that a subtle strain of beauty runs through the planet which we inhabit. Away from the banks and the prisons, on the basic level of existence, there's a gentle, heartstopping delicacy in the most fundamental aspects of life - emotion, connection, standing on a beach at night. But have you ever experienced a split-second appreciation of it all slip through your synapses? Like for a moment it all made sense, but then it became intangible, impossible to latch onto. The underlying presence of that power, that strength of feeling, is what Mae call The Everglow, and that's the name of their 2005 release.

If that whole concept seems slightly pretentious or overly dramatic it's only because that's the direction Mae push you towards. Starting and closing with an introduction and epilogue in the truest sense of those words, The Everglow is not approached as anything close to just a collection of songs. This is a record accompanied by album art and an overarching narrative so celebrated and frequently mentioned that it's practically impossible to avoid. The opener's spoken-word section atop a mellow, matter-of-fact piano proves so, telling you to prepare yourself for the audio portion, as if you would genuinely be there for other primary reasons. And the melodrama of the first real track's piano, We're So Far Away, eases you in with the lines 'Did you know what you were doing, did you know? ... When the light first came upon us, and we saw the everglow'. It's instantly apparent that Mae are getting at something.

What follows is a phenomenally thoughtful and powerful succession of songs which lie between the louder side of alt-rock and the softer side of pop-rock, grazing pianos and euphoric choruses without ever falling into generic territory. The whole record takes on a faint transcendence, owed largely in equal parts to the vocals of Dave Elkin and the grand, immaculate production. Elkin delivers with authority but maintains a fragile edge which comes to the fore on the softer songs like Oceans, a mid-album ballad whose bass drums put a slightly foreboding outline round the verse's pensive piano. He swings solidly through a variety of moods which carry the album's story in their wake, each more convincing and emphatic than the previous.

And the force and momentum that Mae put behind everything drives these songs into a stunning narrative. Pop-rock guitars add the right aesthetics, packing the weight behind the aggressively lonely Someone Else's Arms and the hope behind Anything, and they turn the title-track into a celebratory anthem so joyous and perfect that it sums up exactly what The Everglow as a concept is - a place or state where love and meaning exist - utopia, if you will. It blends irresistible piano with uplifting guitars and a semi-wordless chorus designed for sing-alongs. Whoa whoa, and our hearts are on the everglow - so just let go and fall into it. Both light-hearted and overwhelmingly weighty at the same time, Mae set out on The Everglow to remind you why certain things are important, and as long as you give them your full attention they're going to succeed.

But for all the vague assertions of the value and force of love, the real secret to The Everglow is how grounded it actually is. Though it's hidden slightly below the surface of the album's flawless pianos and poppy guitars, the record's most crucial song lyrically is probably musically its least remarkable. Mistakes We Knew We Were Making is where the story turns, where the wanting turns to hope and everything gets easier, but it's not a sudden, perfect realisation; it's a gritty, unwanted and concrete event which triggers a subtle change of heart. Once the meaning of Mistakes clicks, The Everglow makes perfect sense in every single way. Its narrative is constructed interestingly, its most deliberate and single-minded songs sitting at one end or the other, with the middle section slightly less arresting but rarely less enjoyable, and though its concept doesn't yield on first play the music is brilliant enough that it's nothing of a chore to keep listening for it.

Despite its lack of innovation and anything regarding experimentation, Mae's The Everglow is arguably a perfect album and comes incredibly close to a perfect rating. For some people it'll be too accessible, too considered or too sweet, but if those three things are what you look for then you're going to fall in love. If you always thought Waking Ashland could be good if they were better, or you wish Copeland were more ambitious, then it will hit every right chord. The hooks are heavy and plenty, the songs are stellar and the way it's all put together is seamless; there's no better testament to the quality of this album than the fact that its title is a perfect descriptor; Mae have managed to capture on record that moment, the one where it all made sense, but it slipped away, and now you want it back, and you finally, at long last, have a name for that feeling, and it's called The Everglow.



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user ratings (385)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
mas westman (5)
The Everglow will take you on an emotional journey and will give you a perfect idea of exactly what ...

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Mae's sophomore album is an alternative rock adventure that tells a story while delivering consisten...

(>dragon~guitarist<) (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

here is my review of the most uplifting album ever

AlexTM510
August 1st 2009


1408 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Incredible review dude...does the album justice

I think if people embrace the fairy-esque feel of this album I think they would totally be engulfed in the beauty of this album.

People are missing out on this for sure though.

Douglas
August 1st 2009


9202 Comments


Great review strikey, though they are always great.

Really never looked into the world of Mae, may do so when time permits

AlexTM510
August 1st 2009


1408 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and this album is perfect in my book...one of the best listening experiences ive ever had

end fanboy rant...

ToWhatEnd
August 1st 2009


3172 Comments


Suspension is one of my all-time favorite songs in the genre. Great review.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'd listened to it plenty of times and just thought it was pretty good songwriting. Then, one day this week, it made absolute sense; fortunately, it hasn't slipped away yet, haha.

Thanks guys, I was worried this was too dramatically written.

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


3742 Comments


it is

Knott-
Emeritus
August 1st 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Probably so. Buuuuut if I've ever written about a pop-rock album that deserves to have some emotion in its review it's this one, album is beautiful in that way.

NOTINTHEFACE
August 2nd 2009


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I used to feel this way about this album, now I can't bring myself to sit through the whole thing.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 2nd 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I doubt that will happen with me - I have a massive thing for concept albums that I have 'gotten' at some point. I've played this through so frequently.

ziroth
August 2nd 2009


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, brilliant review! I love this album.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2009


15743 Comments


lol strikey, nice review, made me want to listen to this with its fabulously gay descriptions

xNintendoCorex
August 2nd 2009


1272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the introduction is pretty long winded, otherwise great review for a great album.
shame the follow up sucked balls.

jingledeath
August 2nd 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review, great album

Zip
August 2nd 2009


5312 Comments


Eww uplifting things that aren't metal, gross.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2009


20858 Comments


CHEESY! Haha, no f'n way man. Terrific review. An easy pos.

You've definitely made me want to give this band a listen. Well done Adam.

It's coming up to night-time here, I might go stand on the beach.

Douglas
August 2nd 2009


9202 Comments


Haha, Davey head to the beach. For the first time in months we have SURF!

Sorry, back on topic.... from what I have cybered around, band sounds good. Shall be checking out in the very near future.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 2nd 2009


20858 Comments


I just headed outside & my nipples froze up. Forget that beach idea. (Looks up at introductory paragraph of review...) Darn it, I will have to emote or connect now.

Masochist
August 2nd 2009


8084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Frozen nipples, Huzzah!

This review was beautiful, but written as a Five, IMO. I cannot express just how much this album has done for me personally. If people need positive music, I suggest 'The Everglow'. If people need a beautiful album, I suggest 'The Everglow'. It is, as you said in your comment, the most uplifting album I have ever heard.

I actually don't mind 'Singularity', but it doesn't touch this album. Their latest material, though...all those songs they've been putting out, and the three EP's...great stuff!

Anyways...excellent, excellent review.

rasputin
August 2nd 2009


14555 Comments


mae more like gay



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