Make Do And Mend

Everything You Ever Loved

Written by: PP on 05/07/2012 00:01:06

After writing such a great EP and an even better debut full length, Make Do And Mend were in a difficult spot before writing their sophomore album "Everything You Ever Loved". They basically had a choice to make: either write "End Measured Mile" again with new lyrics and swallow all accusations of continued Hot Water Music worship while growing their fan base at the same, constant rate as they have done over the years, or alternatively evolve their sound ever-so-slightly to attract newer fans, too, who might find the coarse, gravelly shouting style that surrounded most tracks on the record a bit too much.

On "Everything You Ever Loved", Make Do And Mend have chosen the latter path. The songs are slower and more contemplative in nature, spending more time on developing slightly bigger and more ambitious soundscapes than in the past. This is most clearly visible in the guitar department, which takes the high-end, subtle melody of "End Measured Mile" a few steps further and sees the band grow their reach in the same way as Polar Bear Club and The Gaslight Anthem did for their respective sophomore albums. Basically, tone down the punk and hardcore influence in favour of a softer and more accessible sound. As a result, the band have gained more of a distinct identity and have shaken most of the Hot Water Music sound off.

On the first half of the album, it's nearly impossible to argue that they haven't made the right choice. The slower and more deliberate approach suits songs like "Count" and "Blur" much better than a high tempo would, and the beautiful melody of "St. Anne" makes the song one of the best that the band have written during their career. Yes, it's less gritty, and far more melodic (in a more obvious manner) than any of their previous material, but it works because it expands their core sound into a more melodic direction. And even if you were a fan of the older material, tracks like "Count" and "Disassemble" sound more or less the same as the songs on their predecessor, so you can hardly complain.

It's on the second half of the album that the band start fading away from a strong, melody-driven expression into material that feels all too bland and forgettable, even taking into account their tendency to write songs that are growers. There's a lack of subtle melodies and build ups, explosive melodies, and most importantly, memorable passages that would copy songs like "Drown In It", "Stay In The Sun" or "Desert Lily" permanently into your memory. It's no coincidence that these are also among the slowest and most balladic songs that Make Do And Mend have written to date. The passionate roars and spot-on gravelly vocal delivery were always the key ingredients that separated Make Do And Mend from the enormous mass of other bands, and when you remove them from the mix in favour of a cleaner singing style and more progressive song structures instead of the more direct style of the past, the results are predictable. Again, I should stress that these are by no means bad songs, just less interesting than what the band are capable of writing. And that's the reason why "Everything You've Ever Loved" receives a full grade lower rating than its predecessor. While being a good album, it's simply not as strong as the material we've previously heard from the band.

Download: St. Anne, Blur, Count, Lucky,
For the fans of: Balance And Composure, Polar Bear Club, Hot Water Music, Seahaven, Basement
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.06.2012
Rise Records

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