Review Summary: "I don’t think there’s something I would trade
for the endless list of the mistakes I’ve made."
Make Do and Mend are a pretty dynamic bunch, not in the sense that they change time signatures in a dizzying fashion or alter their sound dramatically from song to song, but in the sense that its damn near impossible to avoid shouting along with them. Let’s face it, End Measure Mile is a raging foray into your typical anthemic pop-punk, and while its songs rarely deviate from the verse-chorus format it still manages to keep fans guessing. This is a “fist in the air” record and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
Coming hot off the heels of their split with Touche Amore’, Make Do and Mend plunge immediately into blasting their listener with powerful riffs and gruff vocals. Intro “Unknowingly Strong” is a call to arms that finds the band proclaiming their resiliency while showing their listeners that they aren’t planning on fizzling out any time soon. The rest of the record follows in much the same manner with “heart-on-sleeve” lyrical musings and balls-to-the-walls punk rock with some interesting, but subtle use of electronics. Stand out “Ghostal” is a moody dirge of an anthem complete with guest vocals from La Dispute front man Jordan Dreyer. It showcases exactly what makes this record so powerful. It’s simple use of catchy choruses and unrestrained emotion provide much more connection with the listener than blind technicality and experimentation. End Measure Mile’s other highlights come and go in a blur, always memorable, but fleeting nonetheless. Songs like “Keep This” and “Thanks” are moments of excellence that fly by initial listens, waiting patiently for listeners to hit the replay button.
Ultimately End Measure Mile relies on an emotional appeal to its listeners, voicing concerns about poverty and growing up that are packaged in simple raucous sing-alongs. What it loses in innovation it gains back by means of its sincerity, this is punk rock for the kid whose ever been stepped on or pushed around. This is a karaoke moment for the father who can no longer support his family, or the disenchanted suburbanite who needs to scream aloud the reasons he can’t go on. End Measure Mile is not the most mind-blowing album of the year, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t the most honest.