Mae
(a)fternoon


2.0
poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 21st, 2010 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: (y)awn

Afternoon is the peak time of productivity for the human civilization. The same cannot be said for Mae.

(a)fternoon is the second release in Mae’s series of concept EPs, appropriately placed between early 2009’s (m)orning and late 2010’s (e)vening. (m)orning, while far from perfect, showed a band that was willing to experiment. It yielded successful results more often than not, while showing Mae’s knack for creating charming acoustic/piano ballads. (e)vening, on the other hand, is an instrumental and conceptual triumph. Unlike those efforts, (a)fternoon does very little to entice the listener or remain true to its theme.

The vast majority of the album is directionless and long-winded, with songs that overstay the welcome warranted by their initial appeal. For example, “Over & Over” commences with tight rhythmic guitar strumming and poppy vocals from lead vocalist Dave Elkins. However, the song continues to repeat itself and meander while bringing absolutely nothing new to the table. Admittedly, the section that trades off between heavy guitars and brief drum fills sounds pretty cool, but it is overshadowed by its own excessive length. Songs like “The Fight Song” and “Communication” are even worse off, with easily forgettable hooks and extremely basic riffs that never really break pace. With few exceptions, Mae continues in this manner from start to finish on (a)fternoon, and the complete lack of interesting song structures doom whatever creativity they might have had brewing.

When one analyzes the lyrics, there isn’t much to get excited about either. Elkin’s writing on (m)orning sounds lazy, utilizing lines like, “So here we are waiting for June, I hear that we're humming different tunes…” and “All that I've wanted is standing in front of me.” The first quote seems like a desperation rhyme and the second one seems like it could be a cheesy romantic comedy quote; you know, one of those sometimes what you wanted was right in front of you the whole time type of lines. Either way, the lyrics are not to blame for (m)oring’s failures…they just simply don’t do anything to make it better.

To give credit where it is due, though, Mae does manage to accomplish some interesting things instrumentally. “Good (A)fternoon” is an intriguing opener, with its offbeat drum/synthesizer interchange and its sudden shift to tranquil-sounding acoustic guitars. It even includes the sound of footsteps, as somebody walks into what appears to be a train/transportation station of some kind. Eventually, the voices of other people in the station begin to overlap and echo, creating an ambient atmosphere that fades into the second track. “Falling Into You” is an absolute hidden gem amidst the other material on this album, with a beautiful acoustic atmosphere that is accentuated by uplifting violins in the background. It is clearly the highlight of (a)fternoon, and the rest of the EP is a major letdown by comparison.

However, these few redeeming qualities do not come close to fulfilling the EP’s potential, let alone the potential of the band. The entire thing feels forced, like perhaps Mae was grasping at straws to effectively convey the whole afternoon idea. “Falling Into You” actually does this perfectly (and there are some other scattered moments of brilliance), but the rest of the time the band is unable to accomplish its goal. Chalk (a)fternoon up as a failed experiment that leaves an unsatisfying hole in the middle of Mae’s otherwise superb trio of EPs.



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user ratings (78)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Knott- EMERITUS (1.5)
Afternoon: Noun. The time between noon and evening where excellent pop-rock bands put out atrocious,...

Redmage66 (3.5)
Far from perfect, but still solid....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
October 21st 2010


26605 Comments


It's a shame that this album is so boring, given that their previous release have been wholly enjoyable. Great review SS. Pos'd.

Bitchfork
October 21st 2010


7584 Comments


"EP’s,"
EPs*

Gyromania
October 21st 2010


26605 Comments


Hey bitch, how've ya been?

Eko
October 21st 2010


2118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"Unlike those efforts, (m)orning does very little to entice the listener or remain true to its theme."



i think you meant (a)fternoon.



still think this is good, though i did give it a listen the other day and was less impressed. In Pieces is one of the best mae songs ever imo

Bitchfork
October 21st 2010


7584 Comments


Thinking about reviwing Ys which is now my second favorite album of all time.

Gyromania
October 21st 2010


26605 Comments


I never asked you what you thought of her newest album... What do you think of it?

Bitchfork
October 21st 2010


7584 Comments


5/5

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 21st 2010


29900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

thanks eko, bitchfork...fix'd

vanderb0b
October 21st 2010


3473 Comments


Awesome summary, good review also (as always)


SowingSeason
Moderator
October 21st 2010


29900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

if you are talking to me gyro, i think it is amazing. will have a review out for it in the next few days

Gyromania
October 21st 2010


26605 Comments


Was actually talking to Austin, but that's cool. I still haven't heard (e)vening, but I've heard good things.

Romulus
October 21st 2010


8521 Comments


very nice review Sowing, i've heard random tracks by these guys that sounded good but never a full album

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 21st 2010


29900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i recommend that you start with The Everglow or (e)vening. Hands down their best two albums IMO

Gyromania
October 21st 2010


26605 Comments


Definitely get The Everglow

Oceanus
October 21st 2010


881 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I always liked Destination better than The Everglow.



Oh, and great review. Pretty much sums up how I feel about the EP. It's just too tedious, but there are some great

moments buried in there.

somberlain
October 21st 2010


2123 Comments


damn another review?
SS-56
somberlain-51
guess I'm gonna have to start reviewing again

great summary btw pos'd

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 21st 2010


29900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

haha i like the summary and first 2 lines of my review better than the actual whole



thanks somberlain, and yeh...definitely get back to reviewing!

Romulus
October 21st 2010


8521 Comments


i actually can't remember the last time i reviewed. it's troubling.

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2010


12048 Comments


i always thought afternoon was the time for napping

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 21st 2010


29900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

apparently this album is revolutionizing the way sputnik thinks about naptime



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