Over the course of the last ten years, Florida high-flyers Mayday Parade have released five records, toured every corner of the globe, built a reputable repertoire of heartfelt, yet upbeat tracks, and obtained a dedicated, loyal fanbase.
With consistency seemingly in mind, ‘Sunnyland’, named after an abandoned hospital the group used to hang out in, serves as the five-piece’s sixth record, and their first through their new label home at Rise Records.
Getting us started is ‘Never Sure’, which injects the album with a plentiful dose of summery pop-punk, something that Mayday Parade are pretty darn good at. As singer Derek Sanders oozes the line “I won’t lie / I only love you for the heartbreak” in its chorus, it just reeks of a perfect set opener live.
Recent single and fantastically titled ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning’ harks back to super-long song titles of early Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. The track itself is more Taking Back Sunday than those bands however, with an irregular yet jumpy beat, and bulky emo chorus amid playfully scornful lyrics depicting “what a selfish prick” a friend has become.
Taking the tempo down a notch, ‘Piece Of Your Heart’ enters as the type of slow ballad that the band have nailed down over the years. It may have seemed a bit downbeat when released as the record’s lead single, but its poppy feel sits nicely with Sanders’ dreamy vocals.
Truth be told, almost half of the record is of the softer variety and, while it does stall the record at times, the fluctuating mood switching between belting guitars and pop-folk ballad highlights the mix of tones that the band are so good at.
‘If I Were You’ and ‘Always Leaving’ exemplify the softer tracks that we’ve come to expect, while both ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ and ‘It’s Nowhere’ showcase the group’s grungier qualities.
What ‘Sunnyland’ offers is an album for the fans. In equal measure they delve in and out of acoustic, gentle tracks and punchy pop-rock, providing a little bit of something for everyone whilst taking your emotions for a spin along the way. As for keeping it consistent, Mayday Parade are pretty much pros at producing solid, emotional and catchy records, and ‘Sunnyland’ is no exception.