You are Ok. Well, are you?
The Maine were the second band I ever saw live. Wow. Even typing that makes my mind drag my thoughts back to a simpler time – where songs such as Identify and Some Days were the be all and end all of music for me and my friends. The band are, despite our slightly distanced relationship, very close to my heart so when the opportunity arose to review the band’s seventh album, I couldn’t say no…
The Maine’s last album, Lovely Little Lonely, took their sound to a darker and more delicate sphere than it had ever been to before. The band are masters of building an album to have its own identity – none of the band’s LPs sound the same, yet they still all have a DNA that allows them to hold the essence of the band at their core. You are Ok arrives with a lofty task on its hand, how would it add to The Maine’s already impressive and diverse discography?
Slip the Noose is an attention-grabbing song title, especially when it is the album opener. Beginning with gang vocals, harmonising tightly with one another, the tune quickly slips into the opening verse. The song continually falls in and out of its verses, helping to add suspense as the track moves towards its chorus. As expected, what we are greeted with at the chorus is a joyful and infectious explosion – giving you something to sing along to. This really comes into its own, as the song reaches its conclusion, with John O’Callaghan’s vocals being duplicated and carefully laced around one another. The outcome? Wonderful. I think this song could be my favourite on the album, with this part, in particular, being a triumph.
Closely following this, Heaven, We’re Already Here is another track that I love from this record. When I first listened to it, I got thrown straight back to the summer of 2012 when I first started listening to Pioneer. There is a youthful exuberance about this track, a commanding element to it that makes you want to dance with it. It’s a blinder. Tears Won’t Cry is another track from the album that you cannot afford to miss. The chorus of this one will spin your brain round and round, leaving you with no choice but to sing the hook back to yourself for days on end. Another certain summer jam, this track is sure to feature as the soundtrack to a BBQ somewhere soon.
The acoustic elements of the album that feature strongly towards its conclusion act as a nice pallet cleanser, while the riff in Flowers on the Grave is the perfect way to close the album – give this one a listen for that alone! All of these songs are highlights of the album for me. These are chippy moments that stand out against the rest of the LP, moments that give me a warm fuzz inside. Coupled with the lead single, Numb Without You, these songs will give you a real sense of identity, of not only this release, but the band as a whole. The energy found in these songs is infectious and lets both new, and long-term, fans of the band know that The Maine are as strong as ever (and can still write a bloody good banger!).
As a whole, I don’t think that You are Ok is reinventing the band’s sound as much as Lovely Little Lonely felt too, however it does have its own personality. But importantly, this release feels to be ambitious. There is no moment when listening to the album that I feel like I know exactly what is going to happen next – that is what makes me want to revisit it time and time again.
Catch The Maine on their upcoming tour:
April 5th – Melkweg – Amsterdam, Netherlands