ALBUM REVIEW: The Maine – You Are Ok
Writing successful albums is certainly not new territory for The Maine. Having formed in 2007, the five-piece from Arizona already have seven studio albums under their belts, so it’s safe to say they know what they are doing by now. But new album You Are Ok epitomises the journey that this band have been on and solidifies their position as major players in the alternative rock scene. Not only have the band managed to create an album with seamless production value, the whole outfit seems to have matured with it and into a pop-rock band. Frontman John O’Callaghan’s vocals are stronger than ever, and once again The Maine prove themselves to be a band made for bigger venues and bigger crowds.
First song on the album is Slip The Noose, a clear indication that the band are not ready to move away from their emo roots quite yet. “Oh just slip the noose, untie the rope from my wrists, I was about to let go, ‘till I knew you existed” sings O’Callaghan. The Maine juxtapose their heartfelt and melancholic lyrics with powerful guitars and a punchy chorus, creating a sound that channels legends of emo My Chemical Romance, but with a poppy and melodic twist. The theme of the album seems to be love and the saviour that it can provide – another indication that they are still emo at heart. This especially continues with previously released single Numb Without You and acoustic love song Forevermore, where the full band are ditched for a single guitar, providing a nice intermission from the relentlessness of the album.
Standout track on the album for us comes from Tears Don’t Cry, a funky pop song guaranteed to get the listener moving. There is no denying that these are tracks are intended to stick in your head and although some do get lost along the way, the overall feel is definitely that this is an album accessible to everyone.
Whilst The Maine like to stick by the fact they are ultimately an emo band, there is no denying that this is an album that appeals to and is influenced by many genres. Forget who you are listening to for a minute and you could mistake them for a boy band on the radio, so there is no doubt that they will pick up many pop fans along the way. Whilst You Are Ok could be deemed a fairly safe album, the band succeed in writing lyrics that resonate with their fans own turmoils in love and life, and in that sense it can only be classic.
The album ends with an emotional nine minute tribute to growing up in Flowers On The Grave, a metaphor for the death of a former and more infantile self. The Maine play with tempo and pace throughout the track, and with the introduction of strings the album comes to a cathartic close. O’Callaghan repeats the lyrics “I was on the verge of breaking down, then you came around”– a nod back to opening track Slip The Noose and The Maine do a nice and subtle job of bringing the album around full circle.
Catch The Maine playing songs from the new album at their only upcoming dates in London at The Forum on the 6th of April and at Reading (Friday) and Leeds (Saturday) Festival 23rd- 25th of August.
Standout tracks: Slip The Noose, Tears Don’t Cry, Flowers On The Grave
For Fans Of: Mayday Parade, We The Kings, Cartel
Written by: Maisie Kazen