Today is an exciting day for me. It's Pioneer release day. (You can't miss that cover, can you?)
The Maine first popped onto my radar a few years back. They were all pretty young back then, on their first full length, a couple of EPs behind them, but with, I'm guessing, someone to tell them what to look like...and popping them into a certain genre... sheesh...Even back then the music lodged itself in my brain and wouldn't get out again. They went straight into my personal top 5 artist list, where they have remained for the last few years.
Now onto their 3rd full length album with Pioneer, they've gone from awww to phwoar and are all grown up (I know, I know, I can't really talk, at some point you have to at least pretend to act your age). It's pleasing to see that they are finding their own way and learning to do things on their own terms, a route which a number of bands seem to be taking these days to get control back of the sort of music they want to produce. Pioneer, pulled together without the Warner record label, is a testament to how much they have changed, and that they felt comfortable taking such risk is good as a fan to see that they have such confidence in their own music. At the same time, it is clear that it has been a venture undertaken without any of the arrogance that might have come with that - they are humble, nervous and excited enough to wait and see what the reaction is from other people.
Their second album (Black and White) is one of my favourites and without a doubt it's the one I'll always pull out when I'm after a burst of sunshine. In comparison, Pioneer is much rockier - if Can't Stop, Won't Stop is the cherryade, then Black and White was the fruity alcopop, and Pioneer is the darker, stronger shot of American whiskey. It feels again like an evolution, more serious in some ways and arriving as a sort of statement piece I think - 'This is who we really are'.
A huge favourite for me and the track I can't quite stop playing is 'Heroine', which makes me want to glam up like a rock chick, turn the music up and dirty dance round the flat. I've seen the live performances on youtube, and although it's slightly different on the album, it's very sexy indeed.
'Some Days' was put out a couple of weeks before the album release, and again, it is stupidly catchy, with the lyrics 'Some days they taste like lemonade, some days can feel like razor blades' and honestly, isn't that so right? The lyrics are clever and truthful and I think something everyone can relate to.
The others on the album I'll leave you to discover for yourselves, but it's a fantastic mixture of songs with more adult themes and a bunch of different sounds. The Maine should be proud of what they have achieved with this album. They should be one of the strongest contenders for best rock band of this generation, especially having seen them find their groove as a unit and raise the roof in a live setting. I'm absolutely convinced that at still such a young age, if they are already this good, then at some point they will play to Wembley Stadium.
What I love about The Maine is that they are so interactive, one of them is always doing an interview or video, or sending out photos, writing a blog... you name it, they are constantly in touch with people. Its a band that feels like it has a heart and a soul. They have been doing track by track info on the new album in the run up to today, and will be doing a live stickam chat tonight to celebrate the release. Check it out, I promise you won't regret it. 7.30pm PST http://www.stickam.com/themaine (a little late for those of us in the UK).
Pioneer is out on iTunes now. The Maine tour the UK with All Time Low early next year.