Album Review
Maxeen
Label: SideOneDummy Records
  • 3/5
Reviewed by Janelle
I'll admit it, Maxeen's debut full-length, overall, is pretty damn good, featuring plenty of impressive energetic songs but also, inevitably, the occasional letdown. Fusing pop-punk and new wave a la The Police ヨ high-pitched vocalist/bassist Tom Bailey has an uncanny ability to sound like Sting and often utilizes cool reggae-infused bass lines while guitarist Shannon McMurray wallows in echo-y guitar noise. Sometimes the similarities are a bit disarming, yet still there's something endearing about this three-piece.

No doubt the finest songs appear at the onset, namely the unsurpassable opener, the stomping "Please", the bouncy "Delete Lola", and the ska-tinged "Love Goes a Long Way". Some other outstanding tracks are "Lead Not Follow", which is drenched in reggae beats but also incorporates quicker tempos and pop sensibilities, the frenetic "Take the Weight Off", and the extremely impressive "White Flag", a more subdued, slower, and slightly darker number that is quite affecting. Perhaps the album could have used a couple more in this troubled/dark vein because they execute the style well. With the exception of this fine track, most of the offerings are catchy, infectious as hell, and full of memorable hooks.

However, some tunes just don't work that well, such as "Poison June", the bland low-point of the album whose melancholy sentiments of lost love don't help at all. Likewise, the lackluster "Shuffle My Feet" and "Getaway" are annoyingly upbeat and forgettable. On the same note, the lyrics aren't the most thought-provoking; many songs deal with love and all the problems that ensue and in turn, are rather elementary. However, the good outweigh the bad. All in all, this release is not for those looking for hardcore punk, but if you can tolerate more pop-oriented fare, perhaps Maxeen's alternate take on the trite pop-punk sound will resonate with you.

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