Review Summary: "There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face” seems, somewhat, fitting.
For a moment there, I got lost.
When was it that I last heard a single song by The Maine? Let alone a whole album?
The question resounded within me as I uploaded the files to iTunes. It must’ve been at least a good 5 years since my musical taste drastically changed. Going from an array of Sugarcult-like bands and whatever massive hit used to be on the Deathcore-sphere to a somewhat more sombre and, dare I say, mature
music (Sputnikmusic having a massive part to do with it). The Maine always popped up here and there on the random Facebook status update, A constant reminder of tour pictures and studio updates, pulling me back to a time where “If I Only Had The Heart” played so heavily on my car next to a girl I’ve long lost track of.
A time I no longer felt connected to, let alone a part of, and yet there they were, and yet here I was.
It seems fitting to have lost track of this band honestly, like a pair of long lost friends reuniting, gone is the “scene” hair and bright neon colours on their album covers, yet the bones of what always was a simple, yet catchy band remain, The band shed so much of their skin between the last time I heard from them and this new incarnation that to honestly draw a parallel between them is almost impossible, at least, quality-wise. If Mr O’Callaghan and co. set their crosshairs on maturing their sound well maturing they did. The album starts off with “Miles Away”. By and large one of the most anthemic pieces the band has ever put on wax, with a soaring and immensely catchy chorus it showcases the lightness the band seem to possess when composing. But its the quality of the tunes that is the most impressive of all the things, “English Girls” packs a mean punch of a chorus that is guaranteed to stay stuck in your head for days on end, channelling a palpable 90’s analogue vibe with the tone of its guitars and its straight-forward song structure, how much more fleshed out do these simple but effective ideas come across when executed so soundly. Simplicity is never an easy feat, there is a true sentiment of passion and love for these songs that can be felt throughout the album, maintaining a mid tempo all throughout. They feel happy and care-free, they feel fun and giddy, even when much of the lyricism dwells on self-acceptance and insecurity, specially towards what the future might hold in store, this is the bread and butter for The Maine to churn out tracks like the heartfelt "(Un)Lost".
There is also a effortless sentiment that is carried throughout most off the album, showcasing a serious, yet cheeky attitude towards life, courtesy of Mr Johnny O’Callaghan, And while we’re on the subject of him, how much more thought out do his lyrics sound now? Oozing of optimism even when it masks a hint of insecurity at times, much like on “Am I Pretty” or “My Hair”. They also showcase the album’s biggest asset, a notion that despite the simplicity of every individual element of the music it all really is much more than the sum of its parts, a skeleton crew of assets fleshing out, carelessly wandering, aimlessly loving, and hopelessly optimistic. Much like the gang-shouted outro on “Another Night On Mars” this album is a celebration, a true testament of what The Maine stands for.
“There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face” seems, somewhat, fitting.