Set down the smart phone, get off the Face-space, close out that Insta-watt and Relish. The. Analog.
As you cue up the record player, lean back and pop that RC Cola you’ll realize, it’s time for The Maine 1.0.
Gone are the days of the post-Green-Day-Warped-Tour Something Corporate meets Yellowcard pop-rock. Forever Halloween is as real as the reel-to-reel on which it was recorded, and the finest byproducts of this method are front and center—rich bass, precise tone, and that comfortable, snuggly, sort of just tucked-in feeling. In general, this album is cleaner and simply more interesting than the previous two. They tapped in. As frontman John O’Callaghan states on the band’s website, “We were all meeting her [the tape machine] for the first time, but she already knew everything there was to know about the five of us. In no single way judgmental, but she sniffed out the bullshit and wouldn’t allow us to be anyone we are not.” Thank you compact cassette!
This album is an obvious measure in musical growth. By focusing on and putting energy into the instruments, the quality of sound stretched and expanded into a selection of diverse and appealing tracks. It’s the layered and creative playing that makes Forever Halloween an entertaining listen. In fact, remnants of the old Pat, Kennedy, Garrett, Jared and John show up only in the lyrics. That said, this time around there are, thankfully, fewer teenage beauty queens and drawn out memories of crush-related mishaps. Once again, they have grown up. For the most part now we’re in a world full of authentic relationships and Millennial dichotomies that are relatable, not whiny. ‘Love & Drugs’ sings to the twenty-somethings by pushing on the split between culturally nurtured taste and current realistic means while ‘These Four Words’ (my personal favorite) dabbles in ballad with a graceful melody and a sincere sense of heartache, “I… don’t love you.”
The direction these five Arizonans took on Forever Halloween is a step in the right one. It’s difficult to predict what might come next given the extreme development between this album and the previous ones, but I’m hoping it’s more of the same.
On a side note, I suggest sunlight and pair of headphones when you give this one a listen.