Review Summary: Make Do and Mend craft an album both affecting and heart-wrenching.
The ascension of “The Wave” has become quite fascinating. The bands in “The Wave” (Make Do And Mend, Defeater, Pianos Become The Teeth, La Dispute, and Touche Amore) have little in common musically for the most part, except that all somehow fit in the ever expanding umbrella of post- hardcore. They all clearly have different sounds and different musical influences, yet have become a somewhat tight-knit group (“The Wave” was originally an in-joke between the bands.) La Dispute and Defeater have proven themselves at the outset to be the most popular of the bands mentioned, but with Everything You Ever Loved
, Make Do And Mend make the case that they are the best. An album that aligns itself more with punk bands such as Polar Bear Club and The Menzingers, Everything You Have Ever Loved
is genuine and truly moving both musically and lyrically.
Blending the melodic punk energy with a sense of severe introspection lyrically, Make Do And Mend lay it all out on the table. The songwriting is top-notch, with songs like “Royal” and “St. Anne” reaching levels of pure brilliance. Vocalist James Carroll turns in a fantastic performance vocally, squeezing every ounce of emotion out of lines such as ” You're the only habit I won't break, the only set of vacancies I save, and you deserve a reverence I can't pay”
(“Royal”). Possibly the best track on the album, however, is “Drown In It,” which includes a string accompaniment which adds a sense of loss and loneliness to the track, making it even more affecting as it leads up to a smashing crescendo.
There is very little about Everything You Ever Loved
that disappoints, and perhaps most importantly, the album is a cohesive and complete piece of work. This is not and album that should be listened to in bits and pieces. In listening to it all at once, the album is allowed to build upon itself, taking a journey through Carroll’s pained heart. This isn’t a concept album in the traditional sense, but it does maintain a lyrical continuity. Carroll stirs up feelings of heartbreak and being lost in a cold world, in both himself and the listener, over the album’s first thirty eight minutes, until you get to closer “Desert Lilly.” With “Desert Lilly” Carroll shows that he has finally found a place where he belongs, but it wasn’t without many trials along the way: ” Come close, come close, I've paid my debts to distance, and earned my share of home. Sing slow, sing slow, so if I'm gone before the morning's set aglow, you're not alone.
With Everything You Ever Loved
, Make Do and Mend have showed the world their hearts, their vulnerabilities, but most of all, their brilliance. Throughout the album’s forty two minutes, Make Do and Mend tug at heartstrings and beg for a place where they belong, and when you hear the album, a selfish part of you hopes they never find it.