A band called The Maine are back with their sixth studio album, You Are OK and it’s every bit the amazing offering we were hoping for as a follow up to their 2017 record Lovely Little Lonely.
Last summer The Maine announced that the Lovely Little Lonely era was dead, and to celebrate its legacy, the band hosted a funeral as a farewell show. The funeral show happened last October in Maryland. Fans wore red and were encouraged to bring roses to put on stage to say goodbye to the album. It was at that funeral that the band teased the upcoming You Are OK era by way of a pamphlet that read, “Lovely Little Lonely is dead. The roses have all wilted, and in rolls the gloom only to bloom again soon. You Are OK.”
Many fans who have followed the band for the 12 years since their inception, would have noticed the exciting news of the return of 2008’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop producer, Matt Squire. For some, it brought up questions of whether or not they would be returning to their old sound. For others a little more in the know, it was a hint that the growth the band has made over the years has been solidified with the help of an old friend.
The development in their sound from the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop days is ever present from the get-go of this album, kicking straight in with ‘Slip the Noose’. Vocalist John O’Callaghan is accompanied by a lively string section as he shows off his usual lyrical genius and impressive vocal quality in equal parts.
The brilliance continues with the next two songs that were, in fact, single releases ‘My Best Habit’ and ‘Numb Without You’. They come with energetic hooks that will stay stuck inside your head for an eternity, as will most songs on this album. O’Callaghan singing, “if you were waiting on the sunshine, blue sky, cheap high, lullaby, then my best habit’s letting you down,” in ‘My Best Habit’ gives over to a perfect summer feeling, that he follows up by telling us, “If you’re not you, you’re everyone else,” hitting us with his usual inspirational style mantras.
Guitarists Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock do an awesome job on this record complimenting O’Callaghan’s vocals and lyricism perfectly and ensuring this album goes from strength to strength. Out of the 10 uniquely crafted tunes, there are no weaker songs, a feat that most bands can not make claim to. Even as we get towards the end of the record and the band decided for their finale to crack out a song over nine minutes in length. That’s right, you heard correctly: a nine-minute emo anthem.
Amazingly it works out well and ‘Flowers on the Grave’ is a stunner of a song to finish You Are OK with, on the words, “I was on the verge of breaking down and you came around.” The exact words mirrored in the opening track ‘Slip the Noose’. This touch gives the album a circular feel of never-ending beauty that you can listen to again and again.