Mayday Parade is a band that’s been on my radar for a long time, and I when I came across Black Lines I was shocked for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I found it an entire year after it was released, making me wonder if I had fallen off my pop punk bandwagon or if it just had limited promotion. After being stunned by the fact that the album even exists, I was then very surprised by the content of it. It doesn’t necessarily sound like the band I’m used to; this was rougher around the edges but also very pretty in some ways, heavier than their usual pop punk in some regards but also has touches of their signature acoustic slow downs. This is a record that sounds so unlike Mayday Parade in the absolute best way, demonstrating that the band is capable of something so much more than they’ve ever done before. But even despite all of these new techniques and touches, the entire project is cohesive and flows perfectly from song to song without ever getting caught up in an awkward moment. It’s a rare one when I can say with confidence that there is not a single lackluster song on here. So, with that being said, I decided to do something a little different and discuss each track individually instead of the record as a whole. And without further ado, may I present to you Black Lines.
One Of Them Will Destroy The Other
The opening track starts off screamy and loud, not at all like “Jersey” or “Stay” from previous records. It moves into a dark bridge breakdown with some of the best guitar on the project and features some dense lyrics that are just as fun to decipher as the musical portion is to listen to.
Just Out Of Reach
Although this one continues to be darker in tone like it’s predecessor, “Just Out Of Reach” features some of the best chorus melodies on the entire record that will absolutely make you want to sing along. The soft piano outro provides the perfect touch to keep the song from getting too heavy and even though the song changes feels ever so slightly, nothing ever feels out of place, not even for a second.
Third song in and we have yet to break this streak of darkness we’re on. This one features heavier rock instrumentation, starting off slow and dramatic and moves into one of my favorite guitar pieces. It’s only built upon one verse and numerous choruses, but somehow the idea of repetition never crosses my mind.
Now, this sounds like Mayday Parade. Although, I can’t help but think that even this sounds refreshing for the band, never coming across as recycled. It features a wonderful guitar solo during the bridge and superb vocals at the end, with the lyrics being about the end of a relationship. Corny as that may be most of the time, it never feels that way either, due to their outstanding songwriting ability.
Let’s Be Honest
This is a basic pop punk song at it’s core, with lyrics centered around your own personal faults and instrumental that reminds me of most other bands in the genre. Nonetheless, it may not be a standout on the record but it is enjoyable and relatable, making it worth some sort of while at least.
Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology
A pop punk record isn’t complete without at least one song that is compromised of some ridiculously fast drumming. This is the one for this record. “Keep In Mind…” isn’t usually my favorite produced track, but something about the way this one flows keeps me interested. The choruses are just very nice and interesting, the bridge is soft and provides a contrast to the other pieces of the song and then it fades out with a bright guitar solo. Something this dynamic would come off as messy but with everything in the rights spots and right quantities, I really can’t complain.
One thing I particularly enjoy about this one is that it’s relaxed but not acoustic. The band used some gorgeous electric guitar for the backing of the song with some softer vocals to create a cohesive tune, but the way it breaks into the heavy and energetic instrumental towards the end is extremely remarkable. This record keeps you in anticipation the entire time and this is prime example of it.
Underneath The Tide
This one almost feels unfinished in a way but I enjoy certain parts of it anyway, especially the ending. It’s heavier than expected which fits the vibe of the record and even though it’s not one of my favorite tracks melodically, it is still one that fits well on the record.
All On Me
This is one of the most memorable songs on here, mostly due to it’s classic pop punk sound. I adore the way it starts off slow and dark and builds into more instrumentation, with additional backing noises that add to the full effect of the song. It’s very energetic and proves to be one of the most unforgettable tracks out of all twelve of them.
Until You’re Big Enough
This is weird song to look back on because for one, the guitar pieces remind of the late 2000s and it feels almost nostalgic in a sense. But for two, it’s lyrics remind me of myself when I was younger. The chorus line that goes “I told you we’d see it through/ But you don’t believe/…/ Promise me, promise me you will” is so reminiscent of life even just a few years back and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. It’s different in terms of content where instead of being compromised of mistakes and self hatred, it’s more outro-spective and reminiscent.
Look Up And See Infinity, Look Down And See Nothing
One of the standout tracks among the rest, this one is so ambient and dreamy among the other high energy tracks. It brings everything back to earth after a whole whirlwind of tunes and emotions, and provides a perfect lead to the ending.
One Of Us
To close out the record, we’re presented with some more classic pop punk, only this time it makes you feel uplifted and optimistic instead of down on yourself. It doesn’t deviate too far from the bands signature sound but yet again, isn’t anything reused. The choruses are wonderful in the lyrical content and melodies, and reminds you “don’t forget to tell the ones you love they matter”.