Mae
Multisensory Aesthetic Experience


3.2
good

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
November 30th, 2018 | 65 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An epic journey through time, space, and cheese.

When we last heard Mae, they were coming off of an ambitious EP trio – (m)oring, (a)fternoon, and (e)vening. That 2009-2010 spanning project was generally a success, although the (e)vening release dwarfed the others with its star-lit classical piano movements. After a long absence, Mae has returned with Multisensory Aesthetic Experience – their first full length LP since 2007’s Singularity. This record again takes aim at the stars, creating a piece that sounds like it would be at home floating through time and space. The guitars ring out resplendently, propelled by synthetic undercurrents and dazzling electronic effects. The vocals range from the warm romantic embrace of The Everglow to cold, distant, and entirely autotuned. In a lot of ways it’s like Mae performing a representation of their career-to-date…while on Mars.

I can tell you right now that a lot of people are going to be let down by Multisensory Aesthetic Experience. It’s a weird album, and the band makes some very questionable decisions. I’m still not entirely convinced whether the oddity of this record is a good or bad thing. The futuristic tone of ‘5 Light Years’ is downright brilliant, contrasting gritty and full-sounding guitar riffs with twisting, winding vocal effects that make it sound as if Dave Elkins is being sucked into a wormhole. On the other hand, you have ‘The Overview’, which sounds like Mae singing through a prism of cheese that was cut straight from the old block of chirpy Relient K optimism. The way the album bounces around between genuinely awe-inspiring moments and ones that make you scratch your head is frustrating, because the gems reveal what this album could have been while the pitfalls make you extremely thankful for what it didn’t become.

Still, the aesthetically pleasing songs outweigh the duds. ‘Kaleidoscope’s string-laden backdrop makes for an interesting clash with the chorus’ robotic vocals. Slower tracks like ‘Our Love is a Painted Picture’ reveal just how captivatingly beautiful this synthed-out, electro-washed, spacey aura can be when Mae slows things down and gets introspective . ‘Flow’ is among the most stunning closers in the band’s catalogue, a six minute instrumental that stretches ambience across a frenetic rhythm which is gradually joined by synths/electronic effects to lend it a dream-like quality. Moments like these make up for the goofiness of ‘Overview’, the clunky execution of ‘Sing’, or otherwise decent tracks like ‘Let It Die’ or ‘Simple Words’ that simply feel out of place. I hate to revert to the old “mixed bag” adjective, but if ever it applied to an album, it would be Multisensory Aesthetic Experience.

Longtime Mae fans should approach this album with cautious optimism. It covers new ground for a band that has been rooted in pop rock for the majority its career. That’s cause for at least some celebration, even if it comes with its share of growing pains. There are certain gems here that are worthy of standing alongside Mae’s best material: ‘5 Light Years’ in particular encompasses everything this album aims to be in just over four thrilling minutes. It’ll be an adjustment, especially for any diehards who managed to avoid the 3.0 EP – which contained half of the songs present on Multisensory Aesthetic Experience while serving as an expectations buffer. This is the present and the future for Mae, and their conceptual aspirations here are, at the very least, admirable. One can only hope that they’re able to shake off the rust and eventually create something as consistently masterful as The Everglow again. Between their various EP’s, Singularity, and now this, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Mae play at their full potential.



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
November 30th 2018


29589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

I wanted to like this so much more.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

AlexTM510
November 30th 2018


1457 Comments


Good review, big Mae fan-Everglow remains a classic in my book. The progressive undertone this band have taken was always of intrigue to me. I'll be sure to give this a spin but i'm sure i'll find it cheesy just like you said. I am glad they are trying new things though.

bloc
November 30th 2018


54453 Comments


Album title is mad cringe

Digging: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Is Is

onionbubs
November 30th 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

album title is what their name stands for lol which tbf is still mad cringe



this is ok the overview is unbelievably awful the rest is growing on me

Digging: Alexisonfire - Crisis

onionbubs
November 30th 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

like this is fucking bizzare but has been better every time i’ve listneed to it i think i just need to give this time but as it is it’s cool

Crawl
December 1st 2018


2557 Comments


It's a goddamn mess

Lucman
December 1st 2018


1934 Comments


Got halfway through this but gave up out of utter boredom and I don't care enough about this band to wanna give it another shot.

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

Source
December 1st 2018


8686 Comments


That sucks, this band used to be good

Digging: Scanner - Hypertrace

Snake.
December 1st 2018


21395 Comments


i thought this band's acronym was morning and evening what's the deal

onionbubs
December 1st 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae



"The band's name is an acronym for "Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience", based on a course taken by drummer Jacob Marshall while a student at Old Dominion University."

JakeStallion
December 1st 2018


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. This album is an...interesting one. There’s some stuff I absolutely love here and some that just makes me scratch my head. Honestly I think I prefer their EP from earlier this year, since most of my favorite tracks from here are also on there. And that doesn’t have “The Overview.”

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 1st 2018


29589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

The best way I can describe this is an enjoyable mess. It's so odd but I still couldn't bring myself to give it below a 3.

onionbubs
December 1st 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yea its odd but its good? i think i might like it more with time the overview is the only song i actually dont like on here

Crawl
December 1st 2018


2557 Comments


It just sounds like they wrote a song once in a while for the past 8 years and then smacked them all on one album. Will give this a few more listens, but I am underwhelmed. (e)vening is unbelievable.

Crawl
December 1st 2018


2557 Comments


I mean in fairness, this band has always been rather inconsistent, so I'm not that surprised.

onionbubs
December 1st 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

the piano suite in (e)vening is prolly the best thing theyve ever done

Crawl
December 1st 2018


2557 Comments


I think they wouldn't be as great if they weren't followed by Sleep Well and that ridiculous closer. But yeah, it goes both ways, those wouldn't have the same impact without Seasons either. Some of the highlights from the Everglow could challenge for their best track too.

onionbubs
December 1st 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

yea everglow has some absolute stunners

SowingSeason
Moderator
December 1st 2018


29589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Everglow is their best LP but evening is the most beautiful music they've ever made.

onionbubs
December 1st 2018


10820 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^



gotta love those well timed page breaks



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