Mayday Parade has always made pop punk with a bit of an edge, but they’ve always been heavy on melodic hooks and catchy choruses. The new album is a vast departure from anything and everything the band has done. “Black Lines” has Mayday Parade reinventing themselves as a rock act that sounds far more like Taking Back Sunday on “Louder Now” than themselves on albums like their self-titled effort that was released in 2011. It’s a sound that you could always hear that the band was capable of pulling off, but it was also a sound that you weren’t sure that they actually wanted to explore.
The reason why this album is so different starts with Mayday Parade. They went in to this record knowing that they wanted to do something completely different and make a record that they wanted to make. They accomplished that. The band stretched what they can do in ways that I really didn’t think was possible. It sounds different because they wanted it to sound different. That’s why they enlisted Mike Sapone to produce the album instead of their reliable pair of Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount. Sapone is most well-known for working with Taking Back Sunday, and you can hear his influence all over this album. There isn’t hardly as much polish on this record as there has been on Mayday Parade albums before. Really, there’s not much polish at all. It’s really just an emo rock record that shows probably what Taking Back Sunday should have been for the past five years.
If there’s anything that I missed on this record it was the guitar work. Yes, Derek Sanders has dominated Mayday Parade with great lyrics and vocal presence throughout the band’s career, but they’ve also benefited from the guitar work of Alex Garcia. He’s been a stud on every single one of the bands records and has a style that’s entirely his own. Solos from Garcia in the past have been extremely special, and those are missing here. I wish there was a way to mix the style that the band is going for with the solo style that Garcia implemented on past records.
Mayday Parade made a record that they’ve never made before. That alone is worth complimenting. After ten years running, the band finally mixed things up and made the record that they probably always wanted to make. The result is something that might not be understood by everybody – after all it is a vast departure – but it’s one that can certainly be appreciated.