Mayday Parade are known for their big, emotional outputs and started to get a name for themselves with their continuous release of heartstring-tugging ballads and sing-a-longs. It seemed like the band had a winning formula ever since their first album 'A Lesson In Romantics'; but when you have that winning formula, where do you go when it comes to your next release?
Throughout the promotional campaign for their fifth album 'Black Lines', there has been a clear emphasis on the band's evolution and song-writing that is more mature and different. Of course, this led to a lot of scepticism, especially when lead single 'Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology' was released which seemed to conform to Mayday Parade's previous work. But when 'Black Lines' was eventually released, boy were the sceptics wrong.
Enlisting the help of Real Friends' frontman Dan Lambton, 'One Of Them Will Destroy The Other' furiously opens the album. It is intense, raw, and one of the heavier tracks of the album. Full of storming guitar riffs, it seems like Mayday Parade weren't lying when they said they were writing something different.
Next up is the creative 'Just Out Of Reach' which hints at something new but also reverts back to old-school Mayday Parade, a relief for the band's hardcore fans. It is a fresh take on old Mayday Parade, which gives it a breath of new life.
'Hollow' is possibly the best track on the album.Dark and sultry, angsty and raw, it's led by an enchanting bass line which makes it impossible for the listener to be anything but drawn into the music. It is truly a haunting song, in which the distorted dissonance of the guitars scream out. Although the song ends rather disappointedly, this doesn't take away from the fact that it is a true gem. This then leads into the acoustic 'Letting Go' which lets frontman Derek Sanders display his echoing lyrical ability.
The album as a whole is not entirely cohesive. The beginning is certainly better than the end, and songs like 'Underneath The Tide' are relatively disappointing compared to the rest of the release. 'All Of Me' is another track that doesn't stand out on the album. When average tracks like this are placed on an album such as 'Black Lines', the good songs are simply lost.
'Black Lines' is easily recognisable as a Mayday Parade album, but it is clear that the album is an experiment. It is grittier than anything the band has ever produced before, and although it isn't a completely new direction, it at least stands out in their discography as one of their best releases so far. Instead of being a band that has become stagnant and released the same thing over and over again throughout their career, they have simply pushed themselves out of their comfort zone and, as Derek Sanders said, they created an album for themselves not just for their fans.
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