The Maine’s fifth album “American Candy” feels like a fresh coat of vibrant paint. After 2013’s down to earth “Forever Halloween” the band has made a one-eighty and returned with a more energised sound than ever.
Kicking off with the powerful “Miles Away” it sets the tone for the rest of the record to follow. With its nostalgic and positive attitude it’s a great opener. Similarly the more pop-rock tunes such as “English Girls” and “Another Night on Mars” which provide the classic approach to the genre.
However the main strength of the album is in its variety in sound and subject matter. “Same Suit, Different Tie” inspired by bands like U2 discusses one’s reinvention to keep things exciting, via the metaphor of changing up a suit. “My Hair” starts slow and builds to crescendo; a declaration of difference and individuality in a tribute to growing hair out before becoming bald, a rather humours song.
This being in stark contrast to the melancholy songs of the record. Such as in “24 Floors” with its focus on depression and thoughts of suicide. Ultimately overcoming them and not resorting to a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Furthermore “Diet Soda Society” explores metal health with one’s outlook being over analytical, almost obsessive. With the sounds of whistling, a harmonious chorus and a commanding guitar solo, presenting a nicely polished song.
“Am I Pretty” is a commentary on social media and the pressure it gives young adults to put up a front, essentially becoming posers to fit in with the crowd in an attempt to become popular. Hence the use of “Am I pretty? Do people like me yet? Is there a party? Am I invited?”. “(Un)Lost” describes an unfruitful, desperate search for somewhere to truly belong with its dark guitar tone, akin to songs on Forever Halloween.
The title song of the album “American Candy” is a eulogy to passed away friends. Ones that have succumbed to the excess of a consumerist culture. Candy being a euphemism for drugs and unhealthy diets. The classic rock vibe is present and serves the albums name justice.
The Maine have produced their best material to date in their latest album. They have reinvented themselves once again whilst remaining faithful to their roots. John O’Callaghan has outdone himself in the lyrics department and the band have diversified and honed their sound to a fine edge.
“American Candy” is out now via Big Picnic Records