Story by Nick Erickson, Contributing writer
The 10th anniversary of Tallahassee alternative rockers Mayday Parade marks their fifth album, “Black Lines.”
Known for writing some of the most emotional and heartfelt music on the market today, Mayday Parade has taken the high points of their previous albums and amped them up to a thousand, without losing any of their charm.
Those expecting another taste of sugary pop rock found on their last two albums are in for a surprise. “Black Lines” is raw and more aggressive than their previous work. The edge of the guitars on some tracks is reminiscent of songs off their first full length from 2007, “A Lesson In Romantics.” It’s nice to see Mayday Parade decided to step out of their comfort zone.
Album opener “One of Them Will Destroy The Other” pushes this record toward a darker tone and sets the mood for the rest of the album. The bass and guitar tone, backed by pounding drums, are heavy and not the typical Mayday Parade style. This song features singer Derek Sanders new use of rougher, strained singing at certain parts of the track. This song also features guest vocals from Dan Lambton of Real Friends. His singing compliments Derek’s voice. This was the best track to kick off this album.
Lead single “Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology,” which was released in July, starts with Sanders cooing over a clean guitar melody. Out of nowhere, it kicks in abruptly with synchronized guitar chugging. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album, both vocally and instrumentally.
Ending with a slow paced outro with beautiful guitar lines and gut-wrenching lyrics, it’s bound to get crowds singing along. “I am selfish when I need you. I am the blistering side of the wall in the back of your room.”
Even when the album slows down to the pace of older Mayday Parade tracks, it’s done with precision. The third released single, “Letting Go,” is an anthem for the brokenhearted. It’s about not having the strength to get out of a negative relationship. This track has a very ‘90s inspired atmosphere. Starting with the soft chords of an acoustic guitar and the quiet singing of Sanders, this track builds up over the first minute into an electric, powerful chorus with nice falsetto vocals and a steady drum pulse.
A jack-of-all-trades, Mayday Parade shows their versatility in songwriting. They went the extra mile with “Black Lines” and tried new things never used before by them in their music.
Pushing toward a new, grittier sound, Mayday Parade is changing the game of alternative rock and paving their way to an even more successful career as a band.