Album Review - The Maine: Pioneer
Release Date: December 6th, 2011
Action Theory Records (Independently released)
Review written by: Tyler Common
Score: A+, 100%, 5 stars. I’m serious.
Let me just start off this review by saying that I don’t like writing reviews. Unless I feel compelled by how much I enjoy the album, I normally don’t get excited to write one. I’ll give you my opinions easily, but writing a full-fledged review seems unnecessary for me.
I can’t forget to mention about how one day I’ll feel a certain way towards an album, then a day or so later, my strong liking to said album can start to fade away. I’ve been enjoying The Maine’s new album, Pioneer, in ways I haven’t been able to put in just a few sentences. It’s given me nothing but positive vibes, which isn’t all too regular when I listen to new music lately.
Many of The Maine’s touring peers have gone on to release new album after album, each progressively decreasing in substance and overall musical quality. The Maine surprised me completely with the direction they took on 2010’s Black And White, seemingly in the vein of Third Eye Blind or Eve 6. They were “maturing” in the exact way a band should. How could they possibly top this on Pioneer?
Pioneer tops everything The Maine have ever released. As a somewhat mild fan of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, The Maine had me stapled in as a fan after hearing Black And White. Listening to Pioneer has catapulted my overall enjoyment for their music in a major fashion. Watching these guys grow up since finding out about The Way We Talk EP in 2007 has been quite a great experience, to say the least.
"I’m what time and consequence have made me, so sit back and watch the world explode. 3, 2,1 — here come the fireworks, baby," the band’s frontman John O’Callaghan gracefully sings, kicking off the record with a catchy slower jam, "Identify." Have you ever gotten the feeling where you put a new record on, and immediately within the first song you know you’re about to fall in love with the whole album? That’s what "Identify" did for me.
The album skates by with a song The Maine have been showcasing in their live performance for over a years time now, “My Heroine.” This track sees the band stepping in multiple genres — it’s almost blues-influenced at some points, and the bridge of “da da da da da da da dah dow” projects almost a southern feeling, all while the band flaunt their ability at impeccable harmonies. Pioneer seems to fly by as the group channel (as I mentioned before) their inner Third Eye Blind on “Time” and “Some Days.”
The chorus on the album’s fifth track, “I’m Sorry” has a chorus that seems all too familiar and relatable to almost anyone — the title of the song just kind of describes what the song is all about, and does a perfect job at executing it’s purpose. It’s also got a chorus that will stay in your head for days. Speaking of choruses that stay in your head for days, track 6, “Don’t Give Up On Us,” might be the catchiest song I’ve heard all year. The Maine really know how to write a great song.
"When I’m At Home" is where The Maine really shine in every aspect possible. Hearing this song really just feels like you’re listening to the Phoenix, Arizona located quintet jamming out in a practice space, "I’ll burn this house down, no need for walls now," O’Callaghan shouts, "when I’m with you, I’m at home." The band continue on in the song, leading to another bluesy-jazz-driven jam section, with vocals that seem to be backwards. I rewound them and it sounds like John O’Callaghan is yelling, "don’t let me go, don’t let me die," which just adds to the underlying sincerity The Maine are exerting on Pioneer.
"Thinking Of You" finds the band experimenting with piano-rock, and "Jenny" finds John O’Callaghan singing a heartfelt song written for his mother. Overall, the album doesn’t have one bad song, and to be completely honest with you, I’ve been listening to it for three days straight. I love it when music makes me feel the way Pioneer has, so I have The Maine to thank for pouring their hearts into making fantastic music.
Pioneer just goes to show you what a band can do all on their own without any label backing. I can’t wait to see what The Maine do next, because I’m in this for the long haul. If you have never enjoyed The Maine before, I strongly suggest you checking this record out, because it’s probably the best album I’ve heard all year.
2. My Heroine
4. Some Days
5. I’m Sorry
6. Don’t Give Up On “Us”
8. When I’m At Home
9. Thinking Of You
11. Like We Did (Windows Down)
12. While Listening To Rock & Roll…
13. Waiting For My Sun To Shine
THE MAINE are:
John O’Callaghan - Vocals
Garrett Nickelsen - Bass
Pat Kirch - Drums
Kennedy Brock - Guitar, Vocals
Jared Monaco - Guitar