Fresh out of the Valley of the Sun, The Maine have released yet another first-rate musical advance for their evolving band. For a group that already has a known reputation for giving back to their fans in more than substantial amounts, their brand new Good Love EP is just the icing on the cake. The quintet of John O’Callaghan, Kennedy Brock, Patrick Kirch, Jared Monaco and Garrett Nickelsen have brought the b-sides of their latest full-length, Pioneer, together for an auditory experience you’re not likely to forget.
Good Love starts off with a fired-up guitar riff, soon turning into the 80’s-esque feel-good rock n’ roll song, ‘I Want You’. Lyrically, it sounds like a more mature version of their 2008 hit ‘Everything I Ask For’; the same overall meaning of crazy-in-love but re-worked and aged to perfection. The harmonious background sha la la’s add an overall buoyancy to kick off the general sound of the EP.
Given The Maine’s strongly transformed background of neon-wearing pop punk to rough sugary homegrown rock, it’s no surprise that Good Love, along with Pioneer, is their most innovative sound yet. In the second track, ‘I’m Leaving’, the background vocals are reminiscent to that of King’s of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’. The airy, powerful choral harmony seems to glide effortlessly into the upbeat chorus, filling each void seamlessly. The lyrics are simply straightforward, with frontman John stating, “You’re broken/I promise/I’ll miss you/I’m sorry”.
The third track on Good Love, ‘You’ll Never Know’ is the most unconventional-sounding song on the EP. With synthesizers at the ready (probably engineered by their quite handy background musician and member of My American Heart, Matthew “Matt Nasty” VanGasbeck), ‘You’ll Never Know’ sounds like a good basement jam on a hot Friday night. The underlying tempo of the breakdown is a heavy beat that calls to mind Talking Heads’ ‘Burning Down the House’.
Back on the rock route with the fourth song, ‘Goodbye’, takes on a mellow carpe diem mantra. The guitars are prominent in leading the track into an inspirational chorus of saying good bye to yesterday. Taking the fifth spot on the EP, ‘Take Me Dancing’ was released way back in December as a bonus track to those who’d preordered a copy of Pioneer. The song starts off slow and acoustic with O’Callaghan’s rough, southern vocals, gradually adding in a gentle keyboard melody, only to round off into a rocking guitar solo by Monaco and upbeat drums from Kirch.
‘Hello World’, the sixth track on Good Love, carries the most sanguine sound of the EP. It’s upbeat tempo calls for a summer sunrise and a road trip with this song on full blast. Cheerful and loud, the drums make you want to get up and dance your cares away. A little more than halfway through, the beat breaks down into a slow, repetitive jam that quickly picks up again for one last hurrah. And last but not least, bringing the Good Love EP to a close is the seventh track, aptly named ‘Good Love’. Distant drums and a keyboard give way for an anthem-rock vibe. Picking up in the middle with guitar, bass and drums, ‘Good Love’ repeats its simple chorus of “Good love will find me/Good love will find me” with an assured readiness until it fades out and leaves you wanting more.
The Maine knows they’ve found good love in their fans and supporters alike, and in each other. This band is far from doing what executives and labels tell them to do, and they have trudged through a great many hardships to get where they are now. Pioneer is an inspiring testimony that they are going to do what they want to do, the way the want to do it. And while The Maine is busy kicking ass and taking names, they’re also literally pioneering their way to bigger and better things. The gap between the band and their peers is widening and the horizon seems bright and beautiful.
Written by: Shelby Kreiger