Review: Mayday Parade – Black Lines
Mayday Parade are one of those bands that just can’t seem to catch a break. They’re synonymous with the Hot Topic ‘scene’ crowd, Warped Tour poster boys, and the deviants behind that fucking Umbrella Man you just couldn’t escape from in the Myspace days. Their image is so heavily flacked, it’s easy to forget that the music is actually pretty great. They’re honest, fun, and relatable – everything alternative rock is supposed to be. They can be a little self-satirical at times, but come on, what band aren’t? Album five isn’t the mature expatriation that frontman Derek Sanders says it is, but the Floridian quintet have taken themselves to incredible new heights with Black Lines.
We start with “One Of Them Will Destroy The Other”, a seismic chant-along anthem unmistakably designed for the sweltering summer festival. Behind a backdrop of grimy bass riffs and fuzzed out drums, Sanders’ troubled clamours wrestle mercilessly with guest vocals from Dan Lambton of Real Friends. From there, a kinetic fusion of spellbinding structures and captivating melodies wash us by, a piled-on trifle of ride-or-die alt-rock with a deliriously bouncy edge. Slower jams the likes of “Letting Go” and “Look Up And See…” are woven throughout, and while extraneous, they have an enthralling presence on the record. When he wants it to be, Sanders’ voice becomes as warm as a blanket and sweet as toffee, and like toffee between teeth does this record get stuck in your head; every blasting beat is inexorably finger-drummable, and every chorus disgustingly infectious.
We wrap things up with climactic heartstring-tugger “One Of Us”, and just like that, Mayday Parade have blown us away once again with what is arguably their fiercest, most dynamic record to date. Old mate Umbrella Man might be dead and gone at this point, but oh, how his spirit lives on.