Whilst ‘Pioneer’ was released way back in December 2011, Arizona based pop-rockers The Maine have gone and re-packaged the album with six previously unreleased tracks that were originally cut from the album (and new artwork that looks pretty much as you’d expect Abu Hamza to look after copious amounts of acid), bringing the album to a hefty nineteen tracks in total.
Now, it’s always harsh to criticise poppier bands for not innovating or standing out, that’s just not what it’s about, but, across these 19 tracks, it has to be said that nothing really jumps out at you. The band can certainly write a catchy song or two and know their way around a chorus, but there just seems to be so many bands out there right now that can do a very similar thing whilst offering that little bit more.
There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the album, the band write a solid as hell chorus, a few “whoa”s here, a dash of gang vocals there, etc. It’s easy to imagine the mass sing alongs that will undoubtedly accompany tracks like the infectious ‘My Heroin’ and lighters (or, more likely, lit phone screens) in the air for the more subdued tracks such as ‘Misery’. Very listenable, often catchy, but very rarely spectacular.
The band have left their pop-punk tendencies of 2008 firmly behind them, and that’s understandable, but it’s hard to make a case in favour of the change. Many bands, the likes of You Me At Six and Mayday Parade to name but two, have gone on to a more mature and radio friendly sound as they’ve progressed and grown out of their old music. It’s just hard to see where exactly The Maine have really improved in doing so.
It is, however, easy enough to understand why the band have has success on the back of the original release of ‘Pioneer’ (enough to warrant the re-release with the new songs). It’s extremely accessible, inoffensive and easy on the ears. It’s just not very exciting.
Written by Ryan De Freitas