Review Summary: Everything you ever sorta enjoyed.
When your contemporaries are La Dispute and Touche Amore you have quite a large amount of emotional resonance to live up to. Comparisons across the like-sounding spectrum have stilted Make Do and Mends’ growth from the get go, leaving them squirming in the shadows of their slightly more unique bedfellows. Regardless, they've always done a respectable job at it doing things their way, with the top half of Everything You Ever Loved
and most of End Measured Mile
bringing a certain rawness along for the pop-punk ride. This mix was a categorically different approach from the nu-punk ethos that has been the prevailing ideal in the genre, but they just couldn’t nail it down consistently. Now while searching for a more far reaching sound Make Do and Mend find themselves just as erratic as ever, dragging their feet where they should stand tall and phoning in gruffness unbecoming of a band entering their third LP.
Don’t Be Long
’s exhibit A would be the callously coarse title track, with its pre-chorus yelp and head-smashingly simple melody providing an unceremonious beginning to the uneven affair. “Bluff” is more of the same, trading harmony for some desperate need to sound edgy. The faux-anger isn’t all that’s offered fortunately, with “Ever Since” sounding sincere in its desperation and “I Don’t Wonder At All”s acoustic honesty ringing high among the bands’ back catalog. Then there’s the microcosm “Sanctimony” which opens with a horrific a cappella pre-chorus that eventually transforms into the most infectious sing-a-long on the album. It’s hard to separate the two sides of the band without the bad spilling onto the good. We’ve gotten these ups-and-downs from Make Do and Mend for years now (for every “St. Anne” there had to be a “Drown in It”), and it’s disheartening to see that even as veterans they can’t string together a series of good tracks as an individual release. Lovers of emotionally charged alternative will find quite a bit to love on Don't Be Long
, but the front to back cohesion is still missing as Make Do and Mend try desperately to live up to expectations.