In November 2004, Mae released Destination: B-Sides following a great debut album from the previous year. Destination was an intriguing combination of live, acoustic, and unreleased material that was great for fans, but it seemed odd that the band would put out an album of its kind after just one studio project. However, Mae's debut album was outstanding, and B-Sides managed to only add anticipation for their next full length record. The wait is now over with the arrival of The Everglow, and now the only question is whether the release lives up to the hype that has been building for over two years.
The Everglow not only meets the hype, but exceeds expectations, delivering one of the best albums of its kind in recent memory. Lead singer Dave Elkins' vocals show great versatility, delivering on fast-paced songs, ballads, and everything in between. Every song is powerful, with great blends of electric and acoustic guitar, moving lyrics, and an overall masterful sound. Though the record's sound may not be completely original, it is technically solid, and has enough unique elements to make it very memorable.
Clocking in at just over an hour, the songs on The Everglow mesh beautifully, and the track order seems perfect. In fact, the most captivating part of this project is not the music itself as much as how it is presented. Each song feels like part of a story, and only after one has listened to the entire record is the story complete. The first and last tracks are brilliant, reminiscent of an audio portion of a children's book, with a soothing voice instructing you when to "turn the page" in the booklet. The lyrics in the folder have artwork alongside them, making the whole experience seem more like a classic fairy tale than a music CD.
"We're So Far Away" is a passionate ballad that starts the project off perfectly. "Someone Else's Arms" follows, picking up the tempo and reintroducing the theme of the project. "Painless," "The Ocean," and "Breakdown" are the standouts of the next few tracks, until an appropriate climax is reached with the album's title track. Here, the album's lyrics are never more heartfelt, stating, "There's a neon light inside that shines/ and tearing down the walls in the way/ I think that we've got what it takes/ to get this heart start beating again/ So take it all the way." "The Sun and the Moon" is a splendid and chilling resolution to the story.
Needless to say, this is one of the best projects so far this year, and a must have for any fan of this genre. At first listen, you may not be amazed, but follow the instructions on the CD; open the lyric folder, read along, discover the story, and let the music grow on you. After a few listens, you won't want to leave The Everglow.- Review date: 3/27/05, written by Spencer Priest
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