Review Summary: Catchy, fun, and emotional, this album shows a lot of potential for MDAM.
For some reason, it’s always the bands that I hate the most that I end up loving the most. It happened with La Dispute, Touche Amore, and Kaddisfly. Now it’s happening with Make Do and Mend. I used to hate the harsh, manly vocals that I hadn’t really heard before I listened to these guys, but it has definitely grown on me since. Bringing dynamic drums, clever lyrics, and catchy vocal melodies to the table, there isn’t much to not like about Make Do and Mend’s latest LP, End Measured Mile.
Save for two weak beats throughout the CD, the drums are the glue that holds this record together. A halftime drum beat leading into the second verse of Ghostal provides the contrast needed to make it one of the best moments of this 34 minute album…but then it leads to an even better moment, but we’ll get to that later. Stand Stagger showcases the great drums aiding the progression of the song through use of dynamics and feel. The best moment drum-wise is the buildup in Keep This where the drummer does a fill of oddly accented notes.
Firewater’s intro has the same drum beat we have all heard before, and it really doesn’t need to be there…one of the truly weak moments for the drums. The kick drum counting in the second half of the first verse in Transparent Seas is corny sounding; they could have come up with something a little more creative.
Combining the chilling guitar lines, epic drum build up, and Jordan Dreyer’s (La Dispute) vocals makes the second verse of Ghostal the best part of End Measured Mile. Hopefully this opinion isn’t just reflective of the fact that La Dispute is my favorite band. It is also not to say that the vocals on this CD aren’t good, they are great in fact. However, the lyrics trounce the vocals by default due to them being very insightful and clever. Lines like, “The grass is only greener here if you plant it that way,” and “It’s too hard to keep pretending that you’re more than the mark of an old scar that doesn’t hurt anymore,” will have you reading them over and over again trying to find more meaning behind them.
The vocal melody of the verse of Transparent Seas is exactly what my ears want to hear every time I listen to it, but the vocals fail to impress during the epic guitar lead in Thanks, creating so much unused potential for the singer. While this album has creative moments like the chorus chords in Stand Stagger and the start/stop drums in Thanks, Oak Square has a weak structure and Firewater is extremely predictable. This album’s main weakness is the monotony of it; songs like Keep This and For a Dreamer are basically skip-able tracks. Other songs like Firewater do well at creating contrast by using slide guitar, and other stringed instruments.
This is by no means a perfect album, but it shows incredible potential for a really young band that looks to have a great future ahead of themselves.