With a decade lived in the bustling and ever-changing music scene, the Tempe, Arizona based pop rock group, The Maine, seamlessly manages to continue to heal heartaches and echo our moments of pain or bliss in their new album: Lovely Little Lonely. With their 2015 acclaimed record, American Candy, shifting the pop-punk-evolved-to-pop-rock group from their steady, massive following to a mainstream audience, The Maine approaches the very popular indie rock vibe everyone’s digging nowadays with a balance that allows Lovely Little Lonely to keep the essence that is The Maine. This is the group that shows their pure, unconditional love and appreciation for their fanbase with actions instead of words. Always greeting everyone after shows (no expensive VIP – why would you pay to meet a person?), fighting against scalpers so they don’t rip off fans (after their The Studio at Webster Hall show sold out in seconds, they released more tickets to give those cheated by scalpers another chance), and creating a welcoming, safe space allowing anyone who is willing to love and have fun.
In one thorough listen of the album, there is a constant theme expressed: you are not alone because there are a lot of people who are struggling just like you; you’re never alone. It’s just a taste of how universal the lyrical content of this album (and practically every album by the band) is and how the words sung can capture the emotions we all express.
With the opening track “Don’t Come Down”, there is a lovely, rhythmic guitar intro by Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock accompanying front man John O’Callaghan’s enticing vocals right as Pat Kirch’s percussion and Garrett Nickelsen’s bass guitar kicks in to create this anthemic, uplifting ode of lovers against the world. The exhilarating rush is continued and strengthened with the next track “Bad Behavior” that is followed by the instrumental interlude “Lovely” – an impeccably well done and brief transition to “Black Butterflies and Déjà vu” that is so smooth, you might gasp (because I did). As you’re recovering from the overwhelming emotion “Black Butterflies and Déjà vu” has inflicted on you because you’re reminded of that special somebody you can’t imagine life without, “Taxi” is right there to remind you of the power of unconditional love that can’t necessarily save you from all your troubles. Hey, at least you know someone cares. So keep those tissues at hand. But don’t fret, as “Do You Remember? (The Other Half of 23)” swoops in and you’re instantly reminded of those golden nights of letting go, completely losing yourself to a moment of pure and ecstatic bliss that no one could take away from your hands. Beautifully, towards the end of the track you can hear Pat Kirch’s drumming transition into “Little” where mystical voices echo, hearing fragments such as “Find whatever you are looking for” in your head just as an acoustic guitar brings you to “The Sound of Reverie”.
A remarkable aspect of The Maine is that even if you haven’t been following them since the absolute beginning in 2007, within a few listens of their music, you can feel yourself grow up with them. As O’Callaghan speaks of the bittersweet truth of the passing of time, you can fit yourself into that feeling but O’Callaghan stresses not to fret on your age and continue to “dance with me in naivety, and follow endlessly the sound of reverie.” “Lost in Nostalgia” begins with a sultry, rhythmic bass intro (courtesy of Nickelsen) that almost feels spacey and atmospheric, and as O’Callaghan’s vocals echo endlessly “Don’t you get lost in nostalgia” and “It’s not too late” on repeat, the track feels almost feels like an interlude (like “Lonely” and “Little”), but a good interlude. Surprisingly, “I Only Wanna Talk to You” holds a country-esque vibe foreign to The Maine, but the band is able to harness this vibe as their own and create a track so sweet yet sad. The airy guitars are exceptional on this track, certainly an aspect that compliments O’Callaghan’s voice as he serenades us listeners with this spaced out and fragile ballad. The last interlude track “Lonely” is a beautiful blend of soft synth and keys and guitar strings with O’Callaghan’s gentle vocals reminiscing the feeling of loneliness before turning it all around – and this is where the final track comes in to close this wonder of an album: “How Do You Feel?”
“How do you feel? What’s your condition? You are alive but are you living?” is belted out in this anthem that dares to question everyone listening and make them ask themselves if they are truly living their life to the fullest. There will be ups and downs, there will be low moments but there will be highs and The Maine wants you to remember that you – and only you – are in control of your life, your emotions, your thoughts, your decisions, and ultimately, your freedom.
Feel lovely (and little or lonely!) on April 27th when The Maine plays Webster Hall!