Famous for pioneering a focused pop ballad niché within the pop rock spectrum, fans would be forgiven for assuming this fifth effort could only be limited to ballads dressed with garments of light guitar work like the previous efforts. Mayday Parade have, however, erased their famous formula from the material that comprises ‘Black Lines’.‘One Of Them Will Destroy The Other’ sheds a new anthemic alternative rock light onto the band. The guitar-heavy handed ‘Lets Be Honest’ shifts with euphoria and increases tenfold in an explosive bridge that severs the ropes attached to vocalist Derek Sanders to lash out with a new found throaty rasp.
Production on ‘Black Lines’ is as strong where there is a fluid consistency on the record. The band takes on various guises that bear a resemblance to dark ether that clouds ‘Deja Entendu’. ‘Narrow’ is almost picturesque fuelled by a folkloric quality. Listeners are taken into the seat of the spectator as they observe the suspense as Sanders suggests, “So it has to be just like you had imagined it being, with a rope in your hand and a rock in the other”. The noodly emo-influenced ‘Just Out Of Reach’ allows the band to polish off the famous Mayday Parade call and response harmonies.
Sanders covers unchartered territory on his vocal performances on ‘Black Lines’ where he is impassioned, producing sky-tearing screams. However on ‘Letting Go’, Sanders taps into the brittle corners of his voice to communicate resent of a waning relationship. The track emulates a 90’s alternative ‘The Bends’ acoustic-orientated sound with a lounge pop quality within the folds. ‘Letting Go’ could just be Mayday Parade’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ or ‘High And Dry’.
Although a portion of the record is fuelled by a scathing alternative edge while the record also succumbs to an intimate stripped setting that is just as potent. ‘Look Up And See Infinity, Look Down And See Nothing’ is a prime example that centres around a looping glockenspiel chimes giving a dreamy minimal soundscape for Sanders to wander through with his hushed Lacey-esque demeanour as he pleas, “I want to feel the clouds come down, I want to feel the rest of you out”. When the band taps into areas such as the poppy rock splendour of ‘One Of Us’ that are familiar, it is of course unforgettable proving they are worthy of the status that has been to them.
On ‘Black Lines’ the Floridian forefathers have evolved taking on elements that would be perceived as out of their artillery as the melodic assault charge they have proven themselves to be over their previous studio efforts.
‘Black Lines’ by Mayday Parade is released on October 9th through Fearless Records.
Words by Aaron Akeredolu (@boymostlikelyto)