The Maine – Forever Halloween


Artist

Album

Forever Halloween

Label

Rude Records

Year

2013

Genre

For Fans Of

This Century - A Rocket To The Moon - Youmeatsix

Summary

Outstanding achievement from a band who have come a long way since their first release

Rating

88 / 100

Regardless of whether or not you like their music, its hard to deny The Maine have achieved something that a lot of bands in the alternative pop-rock genre have failed to deliver. Despite the fact they easily could have been just another ‘band of the moment’ after their 2008 release, ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,’ The Maine have defied all odds and managed to stay relevant. Now, in 2013 they have delivered to us ‘Forever Halloween’ an album that demonstrates how far the band have come since their early days and proves that sometimes a little change can pay off.

The Maine begin the record on a surprisingly weak note, given the overall strength of ‘Forever Halloween’. ‘You Get What You Pay For’ is a fairly nondescript track, but nonetheless frontman John O Callaghan carries it on his shoulders with honeyed, boyish vocals that are far from unexceptional. The first single on the album, ‘Love and Drugs,’ excels where ‘You Get What You Pay For’ disappoints: it’s a blithe, larky summer love anthem that will trigger nostalgia for older tracks from The Maine like ‘We All Roll Along.’

‘Run’ and ‘White Walls’ work together as two very different songs to shake things up in a way that fans of The Maine are beginning to be privy to. The former is a track riddled with unusually dark themes that rely on a layering of heavier, dynamic guitar riffs and an echo-like tone on O Callaghan’s slightly distorted vocals. The latter is a heartbreaking entrance into themes of loneliness and angst, a surprising and impressive leap in lyrical maturity for The Maine since 2011’s ‘Pioneer’. Together, these tracks reveal an impressive level of rawness and honesty unlike anything pop rock has to offer elsewhere.

‘Happy’ is frank, cynical and hopeless. It’s depressing and full of angst, and undeniably relatable. Lyrics like ‘This ain’t a fairy tale and I don’t think I’ll ever be happy,’ reveal a new direction for The Maine into deeper, more profound territory. While we saw hints of such themes in ‘Pioneer’, Forever Halloween is The Maine at their most exposed. Things get intriguing with ‘Blood Red,’ an uneasy and haunting track that experiments with spooky piano and reverberations, and a chorus that is somewhat passive aggressive. With ‘Sad Songs’ and ‘These Four Words’ it is clear that with ‘Forever Halloween’, gone are the cherry, upbeat melodies of ‘Love and Drugs.‘ Instead The Maine offer us only despondency, misery and anguish. However ‘Fucked Up Kids’ injects a somewhat ‘who cares’ attitude that harks back to ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ days.

Conclusion

‘Forever Halloween’ is an exceptional achievement for The Maine, and its title track concludes the record in a spine-tingling way that will leave you amazed just how affecting ‘Forever Halloween’ is. While, it falters occasionally, ultimately, the Maine have delivered the best work of their career and one of the most accomplished of records in their genre. The youthful kids who made ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ are a world apart from the mature, capable artists who have given us the pop-rock gem that is Forever Halloween.

Tracklisting

1. Take What You Can Carry
2. Love & Drugs 
3. Run
4. White Walls
5. Happy 
6. Birthday in Los Angeles
7. Blood Red
8. Kennedy Curse
9. Sad Songs
10. Fucked Up Kids
11. These Four Words
12. Forever halloween.

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