For those unfamiliar with new act Mainstay, as I was before hearing this EP, the band recently signed with BEC Recordings and is currently placing the finishing touches on their debut album Well Meaning Fiction, which is due out in February. The EP being reviewed here is mostly a teaser of this album along with a couple bonus acoustic tracks. With only four songs, it gives only a glimpse into what will be seen when Well Meaning Fiction is released, but the glimpse is quite an impressive one.
The first two tracks, "Mirrors" and "This Could Be," are cuts directly pulled from the upcoming album. Both have the sound of a hit waiting to happen, featuring a great blend of electric guitar and some softer piano. Instrumentally, the band's maturity shines brightly and lead singer Justin Anderson's vocals are right on the mark.
As good as the two first tracks are, the real treat comes in the second half of the disc. "Take Away" is a solemn but bold confession to God, acknowledging, "It's all from Your hand / and there's nothing that's mine / and all that You give / You're free to take away." The beautifully simplistic song will also be present on the band's full length release, but may have less of a broken down feel than the version here, which features just an acoustic guitar, piano, and soft percussion.
The album ends with "Life as a Vapor." which includes only Anderson and his guitar. The song is lyrically powerful, wrestling with a life where "We're chasing / all that is fading / What will last when / all of this burns from this dream / you awaken." Mainstay is a group not afraid to pose tough questions about God, life, and themselves.
Though only a short preview of what is to come, Mainstay's EP clearly shows the band's ability to make true, passionate music. Though they will no doubt be compared to other artists of their genre, Mainstay stands out from the rest, and certainly deserves some attention.- Review date: 12/7/05, written by Spencer Priest
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