Make Do And Mend

Don't Be Long

Written by: PP on 23/02/2015 22:29:40

Back in 2011, Make Do And Mend exploded onto the scene with an explosive take on classic Hot Water Music style gravelly punk rock on debut album "End Measured Mile", garnering plenty of critical acclaim and high positions on best of 2014 lists across the web. Their follow-up was a much more introspective work, taking cues from the dreamy post-hardcore of Balance & Composure, Basement and even Seahaven in places, resulting in a softer and more atmospheric album rather than the raw punk rock we heard on their debut. While the album itself was quite good after it grew on you, it just didn't work very well in live environments, and generally lacked the heart-on-sleeve passion of their earlier work. Realizing their new-found experimentalism didn't quite turn out the way they intended it to, the band's FEST 13 performance consisted of playing "End Measured Mile" in its entirety in what was surely a statement of things to come on third album "Don't Be Long". In short, the band return to their roots on the new album.

One of the great things about "End Measured Mile" were the gravelly croons of vocalist James Carroll, which resonated in the hearts of any Hot Water Music fan from especially their mid-career work (think "A Flight And A Crash" or "Caution"-era). A raw, throaty style combined with anthemic melodies over straight up, unassuming punk rock riffs to result into many a genre classic on the album, most importantly "Oak Square", which became an anthem of the year of sorts for anyone into the gravelly style of punk rock in general. Basically, all of that is back on "Don't Be Long". Carroll once again lets his voice fall to near-scream levels, often sounding like he has to battle to let his voice break in the way that it does. That's going to put off a lot of non-punk rock fans, but if you ever listened to a Jawbreaker or a Small Brown Bike record you'll feel right at home. At the same time, the instrumentals return to more dynamic and aggressive punk rock levels, resulting in depth-laden anthemic punk rock songs like "Sanctimony", "Each of Us" and opener "Don't Be Long". They might not be reinventing the wheel, but god damn do they sound good after a good couple of listens. The melodies are strong, there's plenty of raw texture in the vocals, and the guitars are left purposefully rough around the edges to allow for the feeling of passion to flourish despite crisp production values overall.

Echoes of their Balance & Composure-style experimentalism are still present on some of the more atmospheric sections, such as the mid part of "Sanctimony", but generally the record is more straight-forward and designed with a higher tempo in mind. In a way, you could argue "Don't Be Long" to be a bridge album of sorts between the debut and the sophomore album though with a stronger leaning on the former than the latter. And while it once again takes a few listens to get into the album properly, it doesn't take long til songs like "Sin Amor" and "Bluff" open up and convince you Make Do And Mend are one of the more talented punk rock bands around right now. While "Don't Be Long" might not be as great as their debut, it's an improvement over the dreamy sophomore album and a welcome return back to Hot Water Music school of thought when it comes to writing punk rock.


Download: Don't Be Long, Sanctimony, Old Circles, Each Of Us, Sin Amor
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Small Brown Bike, Jawbreaker, Polar Bear Club, Pentimento
Listen: Facebook

Release date 24.02.2015
Rise Records

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