The Maine have been slogging away as arguably one of alternative music’s most underrated bands for over a decade now. The Arizona five-piece are known for their melodic, happy-go-lucky pop-rock and often find themselves with a throng of fair-weather fans who are happy bopping away to them at festivals, but are unwilling to commit to anything more.
However, as the title of their latest album ‘XOXO: From Love And Anxiety In Real Love’ suggests, it’s time for The Maine to dig a little deeper and hope their listeners join them for the ride, and stay for the long haul.
Behind the band’s usual stellar riffs and catchy choruses are songs that hint at real depth, unlike anything we’ve really heard from The Maine before. While these tracks might not be entirely soul bearing, they definitely possess a powerful personal touch that allows fans to see more layers to their favourite fun-time band.
‘If Your Light Goes Out’ is an epic pop song dripping in heartfelt lyrics. We’ve heard bands like The Script and OneRepublic attempt to tackle this sort of number before, but it always leaves a bland taste in the mouth. Here, however, The Maine elevate the track beyond “cheesy love song” territory and take it to a much cooler place, without losing that much-needed emotion. ‘Anxiety In Real Time’ is another vulnerable moment on the album, where the band open up about mental health in a very intimate, poignant way, and they do a pretty good job of it too.
Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking that ‘XOXO: From Love And Anxiety In Real Time’ is a complete departure from The Maine‘s signature sound. There are still plenty of gems that wield the band’s trademark sound; from opener ‘Sticky’, which lives up to its name as its irresistibly catchy beat makes it impossible to shake for hours after hearing, to the alluring The 1975-esque ‘Love In Real Time’, there’s lots of fun to be had here. If someone isn’t singing the lyrics to ‘Lips’ or tapping along to ‘April 7th after giving this album a spin, they clearing haven’t been listening closely enough.
‘XOXO: From Love And Anxiety In Real Time’ couldn’t be more perfect for this summer if it tried. Optimistic, enthusiastic, but also a little nervous, the tone of the album reflects how many people will feel going into the second half of this year. One can only hope that The Maine stick around in peoples’ minds long after this summer is over.