The Maine formed in 2007 in Tempe, Arizona. They are part of a very small collection of bands that has somehow managed to maintain it’s original lineup for roughly 7 years. John O’Callaghan is responsible for their distinct vocal sound, setting them apart from other pop punk bands and making them stand out despite belonging to a very monotonous genre.
Their most recent release American Candy, is just that – sweet, an odd contrast when compared to their last album Forever Halloween. With an incredible 90s alt-rock vibe, it’s the perfect summer album. Tracks such as Am I Pretty? (“It’s such a pity, no one adores me yet, so make me up in a shade that fits me, tell me love oh ‘Am I pretty?’”) and English Girls (“Smoke whatever you’ve got left, it’s getting late and we don’t have much to lose”) keep you hooked from the very beginning. It’s incredibly rare to find an album that is consistent with its message despite the differing tracks.
To me everything about American Candy is about not fitting into the universe as a whole but making our own little homes among the people we love. Their unique bubblegum pop-punk sound is back after the 2013 release Forever Halloween. It is briefly interrupted by “24 Floors”, a track that is the auditory personification of a suicidal thought. Like the rest of the album, it somehow manages to be strangely uplifting, exclaiming, ‘You don’t wanna die tonight. Take one more breath to clear your mind. This moment is relevant’.
O’Callaghan keeps the feeling going strong with ‘(Un)Lost’, a very vague call to arms, declaring “I’m unaware where I’m going or if I’m going anywhere at all but I know I’ll take the leap if it’s worth the fall.” This persistent emotion, encouraging the listener to chase happiness and take chances, is something that my musical repertoire has been sorely lacking lately.
The closing track “Another Night On Mars” is perfect for a summer night spent with friends. As I listened, I wasn’t alone in my room anymore. I was back in 2010. My best friend has just gotten her driver’s license and we are on our way. I don’t know where we’re going and I don’t know why but I don’t care.
That’s something special. The ability of this album to keep me happy and nostalgic while still holding some surprises is definitely it’s biggest strength. As the music slows and the last lyrics ring out, I already know that I’m ready to listen again and I bet you’ll feel the same.
“What’s another night on Mars, with friends like ours anywhere is home…”
Album rating: 9/10
Favorite Tracks: ‘Am I Pretty’, ‘(Un)Lost’, ‘American Candy’