These days, it seems that multiple EPs per year is becoming "in." Last year, we saw Jon Foreman release his seasonal EPs, and throughout 2009, we have witnessed Future of Forestay release their three Travel EPs. Now, Mae has joined the lot with their EP, (m)orning, and the band also has two more scheduled, (a)fternoon and (e)vening. However, these Mae EPs come with a twist as all of the profits on EPs go toward humanitarian causes. In specific, Mae aims their (m)orning EP at building a home; a perfect cause to match their theme of beginnings.
While it takes more than a good cause to make a project good, in Mae's case it seems almost effortless. The only disappointing component of the (m)orning EP is that the eight tracks is deceptive since three songs are instrumental. Both "Good (m)orning" and "(m)orning Drive" are just a small drag on the EP because of the lack of novel musical substance. However, "Two Birds," though aimless, does offer a calm, charming instrumental moment before shifting back to songs with actual lyrics.
It's uncommon to see a project which sports a seven-minute-plus tune. It's even rarer to see back-to-back seven minute songs. But, when Mae pulls off "The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)" and "The House The Fire Built" in succession, it's almost flawless (the songs clock out at 8:37 and 7:06, respectively). "The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)" is a constantly progressing, attractive, pop rock tune which is very diverse thanks to some indie influence. The song is about a singer/song writer experiencing writer's block who encounters a fisherman who then talks of the important things in life through a biblical lens. After the meeting, the writer, now inspired, concludes, with big guitars reminiscent of Switchfoot and "Stars," "Lord, I just need some understanding,/I need a little love/and I want to sing this song to somebody/who does what they're made of/Oh, we need some understanding/We all need love." Although "The House That The Fire Built" isn't quite as fluid or innovative as the previous track, Mae still cranks out a solid tune with a heavy dose of indie rock played in the middle.
But, wait, it gets better. While "Boomerang" lacks any epic feel, the song features smart guitar-driven pop rock music to go along with great hooks and a catchy, radio-friendly beat. The true gem on the (m)orning EP is "A Melody, A Memory," a faultless, beautiful light pop song where the singer reminisces nostalgically with his lover about happier days. Rounding out the songs with lyrics is "Night/Day," which is great due to the piano played throughout and Dave Elkins rising vocals. Even though the song will likely be overshadowed because of the few moments where the music goes over the top, the message against complacency and making everyday matter is strong ("each ray of light will make its way into the core of me/I always knew that I was missing something I know this time that I will leave nothing up to chance").
Though the (m)orning EP comes two years after Mae's last album, Singularity, the great five-song offering indicates that more new Mae music, even though in the form of EPs, is on its way. And, although, it appears Mae's upcoming music won't be in the form of a full-length release, the (m)orning EP is a great sit-in full of hope for the future while providing for a good cause in the present.- Review date: 9/28/09, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records / Cell
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