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REVIEW: The Maine – ‘American Candy’

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American CandyI’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Maine never cease to amaze me. From the opening notes of “Miles Away” to the fade out of “Another Night On Mars,” American Candy proves to be a wonderful addition to the bands eclectic discography with its summery tone and subtle innocence.

“Miles Away” is a rhythmic, harmonic introduction to the album, featuring a catchy chorus. The track overall seems to showcase the blend of the upbeat flare of The Maine’s old pop-punk style and the skill of their more recent classic-rock tone. Between the brilliant instrumental and quotable lines, The Maine are just as impressive as always.

They also prove to live up to the hype. I was most looking forward to hearing “Same Suit, Different Tie,” and it is everything I’d hoped for. There is something almost indescribable about how goddamn good this track is. I’m just in love with it.  Again, with a summery style, this track makes me want to drive to the beach in the most expensive outfit I own and just goof around. It’s carefree and magical. This is how music is supposed to be; it’s supposed to make you feel invincible and carefree and excited. “English Girls” is just as catchy. I admit, I love this song. I sing it in the car. I sing it in the shower. I sing it when I clean. I sing it when I’m bored. It’s just catchy as hell, so how can you not?  It features great imagery and a wonderful narrative, but thanks to the lyric video, all I can imagine is the band singing into the camera. The guitar, courtesy of Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock, is impeccable, and John O’Callaghan’s vocals are, as usual, on par.

What’s so intriguing about this album though, is the power it holds. Despite an upbeat overall quality, this album has a million possibilities when it comes to interpretation. There are songs that can seem to be about something as mundane and normal as hair (“My Hair”), and make it sound like a symbol for something so much greater. “American Candy” features Pat Kirch’s steady drumming, guiding us into the kick off of the track. “This American candy, it’ll rot your teeth,” O’Callaghan seems to warn. It would appear that American candy seems to be a representation of societal trends; we love them, can’t get enough of us, but they’re the things making us unhealthy (mentally, physically, et cetera), stripping us of youth and individuality: “ad even if you wanted to, you can’t stop, it’s just so sweet […]” I imagine you could get a multitude of messages from the track, but when put into context with the rest of the album, this is where I think all roads will lead.

However, it is “24 Floors” that truly has the strongest presence on the album. It’s softer and far more melancholy in tone than the rest of the album; reminiscent to “These Four Words.” Melodic, beautiful, and sad all at once. If this song doesn’t bring you to tears, you’re insane. I can honestly say it is the first time I’ve ever had to stop an album when reviewing it, just to let this one sink in. “You don’t want to die tonight/Take one more breath to clear your mind.” It has such a strong presence on an otherwise innocent/happy-go-lucky album. The coordination of the instrumentals brings it full circle, especially when layered with the stunning harmonies and melodics of the piano. “(Un)Lost” feels like a follow-up to the narrative on “24 Floors,” what happens after our hero chooses to step back from the ledge, and is just trying to find themselves. It really culminates this “Be yourself, because life is short,” message of American Candy.

“Diet Soda Society” is catchy and cool. “My mind is on the brink of goin’ supernova,” O’Callaghan croons, and I can’t help but believe him. Garrett Nickelsen’s bass lines are impressive as hell, as is the guitar, which just seems to build throughout the track, switching from acoustic to electric, and there’s a great sense of rhythm and clever lyrics, although that’s not unusual for The Maine.

“Am I Pretty” comes crashing in with self-depreciating lines that, when pieced together, are not what they seem. Group vocals bring the track to another level, especially when accompanied by distortions that are reminiscent of the late 80s, early 90s. I love the spoken word transition into a choir-worthy bridge; it makes me want to see this played live so damn bad. But out of all the tracks I’d like to see live, it has to be the anthemic finale to American Candy: “Another Night On Mars.” Between the pounding piano, big, booming lyrics, group vocals, and nostalgic feeling, this is the song that would make sense at the end of a show, when everyone has that buzz to them; that feeling like you could do anything. It’s anthemic and amazing all at once, and a brilliant end to a fantastic album. It’s cheeky, and reminds me of David Bowie in some bizarre, beautiful way.

American Candy is out on March 31st. Click here to buy a CD.

For more on The Maine or to purchase concert tickets, click HERE.

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Founder/CEO of Planet Stereo Entertainment - Writer for Infectious Magazine and RibbitTV - NASM Certified personal trainer with a diploma in Exercise Science - Kettle Bell certified - Aspiring filmmaker.

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