The Maine / by E

       The Maine (a quintet from Tempe, Arizona) was formed in 2006 by Garrett Nickelsen and Pat Kirch (bassist and drummer, respectively); John O'Callaghan (singer), Ryan Osterman, and Alex Ross joined the band after Nickelsen and Kirch held auditions, though Osterman and Ross left the band after their first EP (Stay Up, Get Down) was released, making room for Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco to join. In 2007, the band signed to Fearless Records and released their second EP, The Way We Talk, before releasing their first full-length album, Can't Stop, Won't Stop, and an holiday EP, ...And a Happy New Year, in 2008. The band signed to Warner Bros. Records in 2009, releasing a fourth EP (In Darkness & In Light) and their second album, Black & White, in 2010 and embarking on their first headlining tour. Pioneer, the bands third album, was released in 2011 (re-released in September [2012] in the UK and Europe as Pioneer and The Good Love and featured six new tracks; in the US, you can get these tracks as Good Love- The Pioneer B-Sides), and the band is currently working on their fourth album (which will be an independent release) with Brendan Benson (solo artist and from The Raconteurs; this next album is bound to be great).
        At some point in your life, you will fall in love with The Maine; they're great (and continually getting better) so it's kind of inevitable (I fell in love with their sound a few years ago when I was paired with a roommate who may be The Maine's biggest fan). Their first album (Can't Stop, Won't Stop) was just fun and good (and still is), their second album (Black & White) contained a mixture of their early pop rock sound with a more alternative rock sound (and showed just how much the band had grown since their first album), and their third album is so stuffed full of great alternative rock songs, mature lyrics, and perfectly simple guitar riffs that it's hard not to be proud of this band that so easily made the transition from a cute boy band with good music to a group of guys who can create something as beautiful as "Take Me Dancing".
       "Give Me Anything" and "We Change, We Wait" may be from the band's first EP's, but the songs are still great and they show the talent for song-writing and composition which the band has always had.
       Can't Stop, Won't Stop may be the bands first album, but it's still full of really great songs. "I Must Be Dreaming" and "Into Your Arms" are just cute (and you have to like the line, "she had the most amazing smile, I bet you didn't expect that"), while "You Left Me" and "Girls Do What They Want" are just really great songs (and fun to dance around to).
       The bands sound changed from their first album to their second, but Black & White is no less great than their first album was; it relies more heavily on punk rock sounds and less so on the punk pop that was so prevalent on their first album. Songs like "Don't Stop Now", "Fuel to the Fire" and "Right Girl" are impossible to not sing-along to and the only thing better than those lyrics are those heavy drum beats and insistent guitar riffs that make you want to dance. "Growing Up" is nostalgic and great and "Listen to Your Heart" just makes me happy; plus, "Inside of You" is great because it was written about a girl that thought O'Callaghan was gay (there is no deeper meaning with sweet analogies; it's a song about sex with a funny back-story).
       The band took the time to mature and redefine themselves (from a punk boy band to a mature quintet) a bit before releasing their third album, Pioneer; this new sound is amazing. The band sounds like they've finally found some really great solid ground on which to build their musical careers and I can't wait to hear what they have coming on their next album. "My Heroine" and "Time" have really great rock beats (with even better lyrics), and "Some Days" and "Don't Give Up On 'Us'" do a great job of infusing their new rock sound with a little bit of that punk pop that was so prevalent on their earlier albums, making the songs just fun enough that they become completely addictive. "Thinking of You" is the most adorable song; "Whoever She Is" was cute, "Into Your Arms" makes me smile, and "Listen to Your Heart" is just good, but "Thinking of You" is a perfect mixture of 'cutesy' with a little bit of a rock beat and a punk rock guitar riff that makes it more than acceptable to hit that replay button. "While Listening to Rock & Roll" sounds like it's influenced a little more by country than by rock and shows a more mellow side to the band; a sound which is easy to hear on their newest EP, Good Love- The Pioneer B-Sides.
       Their latest EP featured songs that relied more heavily on the influences of classic rock and country chords than anything else, but the band makes this new sound work for them; and the only thing better than the new compositions are those always great lyrics the band so easily creates. "I'm Leaving" and "Hello World" have great guitar riffs (and great lyrics, as always), while "I Want You" shows a mellow side of the band (relying heavily on acoustic sounds) that we have not heard too often. "You'll Never Know" and "Take Me Dancing" may be the most amazing songs the band has ever created (I cannot emphasize enough how great "Take Me Dancing" is; it's at a level of perfection that few songs can reach). "Good Love" is an amazing song and a really great way to end their EP; my anticipation for their next album only grows stronger each time I hear those guitar riffs and drum beats join up at that 2:35 mark.
       Good lyrics and solid compositions are a staple to this bands music and I have no fucking clue how they are not yet famous; The Maine has released five EP's and three full-length albums and not one of their songs has been 'bad' (plus, the only version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" that I have ever liked is The Maine's). Check out the band in the links below and make sure to keep an eye out for announcements on their upcoming fourth album release.
- E
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