by Thomas Redding
The Maine is a pop-rock band from Phoenix, Arizona, who just released their sixth studio album, “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” that has received positive feedback.
The band released the album with no help from a record label or distributor. The physical copies were only available as pre-orders on their website and on release day at select locations in the US.
Despite having a lack of promotional tools, the band managed to chart the album at #15 on the top 200-album chart in the first week, and #3 in vinyl albums sold. “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” features 12 tracks, totaling 34 minutes and 13 seconds.
The first track, “Don’t Come Down” starts the album off right with an ear catching guitar riff that leads into a catchy, hard-hitting chorus. The lyrics to the song make it a perfect, bittersweet anthem for any teenager in love who doesn’t want the flame to burn out.
The second track was the first single released back in January, titled “Bad Behavior.” The band noted that this was the best transition track into their new sound for those who heard their previous record, “American Candy.”
The first single from that album was titled “English Girls,” and the new track feels somewhat like a sequil. It has similar vibes, but a little more rock influenced and they both dive in to the ideas and feelings behind intimacy.
Track three is a 34 second instrumental track titled “Lovely,” that consists mostly of soothing tones created from a sampler or keyboard and features a guitar riff similar to that of the next track. It’s short, sweet, and builds suspense for the listener.
If listening to the album for the first time, it can catch listeners off guard when “Lovely” bleeds right into “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu,” track four. One loud snare hit followed by a loud, fast section of the full band playing abruptly awakens the soothing sound of “Lovely.”
The song has an interesting spin on normal songwriting techniques the band typically follows. The chorus is actually the softest part of the song, and features the same ambient sounds form the previous track, while the verses feature the guitars and drums pounding with loud vocals to match the amplitude.
Track five is one of the more “emo” songs on the album, yet still has a somewhat positive message. The song is titled “Taxi,” and vocalist, John O’Callaghan, sings about being there for someone who believes that their sadness will never leave them.
It’s a reminder to be there for loved ones, no matter the situation. The track starts in a more somber style with just acoustic guitar and vocals that helps focus listeners on the lyrical content, which is the strongest part of the song.
Leading off side B of the vinyl is “Do You Remember (The Other Half of 23).” This song is one of the more positive ones in the aspect of the lyrics and overall feeling. It was also the third single to be released. This track’s arrangement resembles a track from their previous album titled, “Am I Pretty.”
However, “Do You Remember” is much more of a rock song. The use of crunchier guitar effects and more guitar feedback make this song one of the only pop-0punk influenced songs on the new record.
Through seamless transition, the next track starts when the guitar from the previous song ends. The drums bleed into the next song titled, “Little,” another transition track, similar to “Lovely.”
It features the same type of ambient keyboard but with a spoken word poem edited with a deep, monster sounding vocal effect, and some of the lyrics from the next track softly layered in the background. The track ends with just acoustic strumming, and runs right into the next song.
Track eight is titled “The Sound of Reverie.” This track is about things changing so fast that they may just miss them and the idea that with age comes forgetting who real friends are. They may lose contact with a person, and that person then becomes a stranger.
O’Callahan sings about not blinking or to not miss anything. This could refer to that passing of time or even as a sign of negligence. The track has acoustic guitar during the verses as well as an undertone to the electric guitars during the chorus.
The acoustic feel of this song make it another bittersweet one. The band had noted in an interview that they were trying to make a “Happy Sad” album, and these select songs that I’ve noted really push that agenda.
Up next is “Lost In Nostalgia.” This song is instantly recognizable by its infectious bass line. The song is the grooviest, most pop influenced song they’ve ever written. Its instrumentation consists mostly of keyboard arrangements and soothing sounds. The vocals are highly edited to fit the ambient vibe.
The track ends with an arpeggio of keyboard sounds that sends listeners into a long section of guitar feedback that gets interrupted by the sound of soft playing drums.
Next up on the track listing is “I Only Wanna Talk To You.” This is the only full acoustic song on the record, but still includes drums. It has this creepy guitar riff in the intro that leaves everyone wondering what’s next. It’s the most romantic and intimate song on the album, and the message is direct in reference to the lyrics.
As it builds up toward the end of the song, the vocals get louder showing the passion in O’Callahan’s voice. It’s a great love ballad for fans of non-cheesy love songs. The song ends with the same feedback that started it, and this runs over into the next track.
The second to last song is called, “Lonely.” The title corresponds with the feeling of the song very well. He sings about feeling weightless and alone in deep water, yet it all turns around. This could be taken literally because the album art features two hands submerged in water, which is represented by empty black space.
It can also be taken metaphorically, yet has a sort of dissonance that makes it difficult to understand what he might truly mean. This song is mostly piano with the addition of a drum machine in the later end of the song.
Also making a later appearance are ocean sounds, which further pushes the theme of vast water and emptiness. Hearing the actual sounds that they recorded of the ocean next to where they recorded the album lets you feel exactly what it was like to be in that emptiness that he was feeling. It makes the song exponentially more intimate. The next song, whose vibe is the exact opposite, abruptly cuts off this track.
The final song of “Lovely, Little, Lonely” is called “How Do You Feel?” This track is about living your life to the fullest, and not really caring about what other people think. The track’s instrumentation is similar to track six, “Do You Remember.” It has more of a rock vibe, and more positive lyrics, which highly contrast the previous four songs.
It was definitely the best decision for a closing track because you never would have expected this loud song to come after these four softer ones. It’s uncomfortable, yet works seamlessly.
The album speaks to what the band believes in. At every show, they tell the crowd to live in the moment and not care about what’s going on in their lives and let the music bring everyone together.
The fans have received the album better than any proceeding record, and the release of “Lovely, Little, Lonely” is important to the band because of this. This can be a pivotal point in their career, but it is definitely not nearing the end. The band has been making music for 10 straight years, and said they will for as long as they can. If interested in purchasing a physical copy of “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” it is available on their website www.wearethemaine.net. It is also available digitally on iTunes and Spotify.
I would rate this album a solid 10/10. Not only is it great music, but it is rare to be able to feel what a band was feeling when they wrote the songs The vibe and overall feeling of this album will make listeners a little happy and a little sad, but in the end like a better person.