Review Summary: Mayday Parade tries to make a Brand New album, and it kinda worked.
A note: since this album has only been out for a couple of hours (or at least I've only known of it's release for a couple of hours), so this is based on a first listen. The rating and individual perspectives on songs may change overtime.
Mayday Parade has always been a strange case for me. They were a highly acclaimed pop punk band (which is a genre I listen to too much) with their first album "A Lesson In Romantics". From what I've heard about them, every other album from them is apparently not great, because a key member on their debut left after it's release. The reason they were a strange case for me is because I can't even get into "A Lesson in Romantics". I can listen to and appreciate it, but as a whole, I've never been able to make it through a full album of theirs. Until now.
When I saw that they had a new single, I was somewhat interested. When I heard the producer was that of Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, I became curious about what kind of sound they would produce. Lead single "Keep In Mind, Transmogrification is a New Technology" met the expectations I had set. The song did have a Brand New vibe to it, and while the beginning got relatively repetitive quickly, the second half of the song provided differently. The bridge was very explosive and eventually as the song closed out, they incorporated tape loops and a slow pitch bend that sounds relatively like the ending of Weezer's "Undone - the Sweater Song". Listening to that single alone made me determine that I had to listen to this album. I had expected an album that although had catchy hooks and vocals, also had signs of evolution and maturity. In some ways, I sort of expected them to release an album such as "The Devil and God Are Raged Inside Me". Is that what this album was?
Not really. The album, although showcased the band's evolution, was relatively similar to a lot of other music they've made, just musically superior. That's one thing this album definitely is. The bass lines are not only more present on this album, but they're also stronger. Specifically on tracks such as "Let's Be Honest". The guitar work is also a lot better, specifically referring to the wah solo on "One of Them Will Destroy the Other". Derek seems to be taking up a Jesse Lacey influence with his lyrics, because on tracks (again) like "One of Them Will Destroy the Other", Derek is just screaming his lungs apart, belting out the lyrics with a sense of passion. Even though he's just not there lyrically, his vocal performance on this album is spectacular, and not something I'd expect from him.
However, the album does have a major flaw: consistency. On this album, you get a lot of different vibes from a lot of different songs, and these vibes don't really work together. On the album, you can hear songs with a grungy overtone to it (Hollow), yet on other tracks you can hear an influence from the quieter Jimmy Eat World songs (Letting Go). These tracks would sound great surrounded by the kind of music that they belong with, but in this mix of different vibes, the album can lose listeners relatively quickly. However, that really only represents a good portion of the first half. Tracks like "Narrow" and "Keep In Mind, Transmogrification is a New Technology" give a feel that's very similar to what Brand New might make. Other tracks, such as "Underneath the Tide" and "All on Me" are very strong hard rock tracks. "All on Me" specifically has a catchy riff and a generally awesome sound to it, being one of the album's later highlights.
Like all great albums, the closer plays a key part on whether the album was a pleasant listen (unless the album is the Fragile). "One of Us" starts off shakily, but the song eventually develops into one of the best songs on the album. The track builds up a lot and develops into a track that sums up the album well. It kinda sounds like a collection of everything the listener just heard.
I feel like the first half of this album was very similar to Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park. A couple of great standout tracks but the rest of the album feels really awkward and shaky. However, they picked themselves back up and finished the album leaving listeners feeling completed. While I don't think this is the best Mayday Parade could've done with this, they definitely showed a lot of potential, and they seem to be taking a step in the right direction. I really enjoyed this album and I think if they keep this up, they will develop into an incredible band.
One of Them Will Destroy the Other
Keep In Mind, Transmogrification is a New Technology
All on Me
One of Us
Or just listen to the full album on whatever streaming service you use to determine which tracks you like.