Forever Halloween; so good it’s scary!

by Jessica Mathie

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When listening to The Maine’s new album “Forever Halloween”, there’s a certain amount of nostalgic satisfaction that stirs in your gut if you’ve been a fan of this band since its punk pop beginnings that reflected the prepubescent angst of many a tween back in 2007 when they released their first EP, “The Way We Talk” with Fearless Records.

Long gone are the days when lead vocalist John O’Callaghan was singing pop ballads about “falling in love, but it’s falling apart” in singles like “Into Your Arms”. O’Callaghan, along with the rest of the Arizona natives who make up The Maine have grown up since then and are determined to prove it in “Forever Halloween”, a busy alternative rock follow-up of the 2011 album, “Pioneer”.

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Listening to Forever Halloween is like listening to a sell-out garage band in reverse; where the sound is rawer, more real and aimed less at attracting the masses with predictable pop hooks and sappy lyrics. It also makes a difference that the band recorded all the instruments and vocals together, giving it a more powerful, live sound.

The album gets you nodding your head from the first few seconds with the blunt and kooky “Take What You Can Carry”, which meshes O’Callaghan’s criticizing of the music industry in LA with a biblical reference that sets the bizarre tone of the entire album. Luckily, it is this bizarre approach mixed with humorous profanities and profound phrasing that keeps you curious enough to keep listening.

The album is definitely darker as the band gradually loses their original pop sound, replacing it with some impressive guitar hooks in songs like “Run” and Kennedy Curse”. O’Callaghan’s voice comes across far more maturely, which listeners will have picked up on in “Pioneer”. The result is 12 explosive tracks that talk about the band’s experiences on the road, childhood memories (see “White Walls”) and the real gem of the album, “These Four Words”, which is a tear-jerking piano ballad that shows O’Callaghan’s song-writing abilities are a little more than above average.

Above all, though and what really stands out about this album is the love and care that the band have so obviously put into it, as they uploaded Youtube updates of the album’s production (http://bit.ly/19kv8hV), which they did independently again with their own “Eighty One Twenty Three” music label. The Maine (http://wearethemaine.net/) has finally begun to find their niche, and it’s definitely been worth the journey.

Official website: http://www.wearethemaine.net

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/themaine

Twitter page:  https://twitter.com/themaine

Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/themaine

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