Written By: Ben Millikan
Label: Fearless/Atlantic – Rating:
Move over All Time Low and Boys Like Girls! There’s a new emo/pop-punk band on the scene with girlier hairstyles than both of you! Now, I usually believe that taking a dig at the personal appearances of band members is show-fouter and totally uncalled for, but for any band that is looked at to be some sort of a successor to Fall Out Boy––well, who could resist?
But all joking aside, that band with girlier hair, the Sunshine State’s very own Mayday Parade; they have better music too! And just as it’s not my job to critique appearances, it’s not my job to compare other bands, either. But ever since the breakout of the aforementioned Fall Out Boy there has been a whole slew of bands to make their way through the emo ranks by following a very formulaic song writing process (simple beat, catchy guitar riff, angst-ridden lyrics about failing relationships) that is usually void of any definable, aesthetic appeal. Mayday Parade doesn’t stray too far from this formula, they just do it better than most of their contemporaries.
With their sophomore release Anywhere But Here, the band shows that it is above the genre standard, primarily in the area of guitar riffs. While there are less solos on Anywhere But Here in comparison to A Lesson in Romantics, the band’s first album, the lead and rhythm guitar sections do have their moments. The harmonizing riff on “Center of Attention” is catchy, albeit simple and the solo on “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?,” while lacking some much-needed juice to help it cut above the mix, still showcases the band’s talents.
Ultimately, what will endear fans with this album are the catchy (noticing a trend here?) and anthemic choruses. “Get Up” will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser at live shows, where fans will get the chance to sing along with new lead vocalist Derek Sanders and his great hook: “Get up, get up – sing it like you’re screaming at me – get up, get up, love the way you make it look so easy / East Coast, West Coast, show me what you got now – let’s go, let’s go!” Die-hard fans will miss the presence of former lead vocalist Jason Lancaster, whose dual vocals with Sanders created an interesting melodic quality that is missing from Anywhere But Here. Sanders, however, fills the void nicely, combing catchy (yes, that word again!), upbeat choruses with softer, more mellow vocals on a track like “This Time I Meant It.”
There’s still something lacking from Anywhere But Here that would place Mayday Parade a cut above the rest in the pop-punk scene, but don’t be surprised if you see these guys on a headlining tour soon.