In 2007, a band from Arizona called The Maine was formed. I was 13 years old then, doing everything I could to get a listen to their demo of “Daisy” on my iPod Shuffle, to and from Frost Middle School in Livonia, Mich. Things were much simpler then. The band has six records under their belt now, countless EPs, and with consistent touring on the horizon, a self-launched (and greatly successful) festival behind their brand, “8123 Fest,” and a self-released new record, powered by support from their fans – the future looks bright.
Ten years have gone by since The Maine’s inception. They have grown up, and I’ve grown with them. The Maine has built a brand of honesty and class throughout all these years, and have been doing it independently for more than half of it. This time around, Lovely Little Lonely is up to bat, and trust me — it’s guaranteed to rip your heart out. Vocalist John O’Callaghan is more in his element than ever, arguably offering the most personal lyrics of his career. The words in the song ‘Taxi’ hit me like a sack of bricks, with O’Callaghan crooning, “In the backseat, when you asked me, ‘is the sadness everlasting?’ I pulled you closer, looked at you and said – ‘love, I think it is.’”
Drummer Pat Kirch offers up what has to be his sweetest performance yet, with Garrett Nickelsen completing out a grandiose rhythm section on bass. Tracks like “Black Butterflies & Deja Vu,” the interlude “Little,” and album closer, “How Do You Feel?,” the love and passion behind Kirch’s playing is evident.
“Bad Behavior” was the first taste fans got from Lovely Little Lonely, a catchy bop with the brightest collaboration between guitarists Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock — reminiscent to this album’s successor, American Candy, released in 2015. “Do You Remember (The Other Half of 23)” is a timeless track filled with nostalgia – “Do you remember, the days we were golden? We would surrender to just letting go.”
Lovely Little Lonely is full of lyrics about great uncertainty, depression, nostalgia, and love. The album’s closer “How Do You Feel” is a heart-wrenching song about anxiety for the past, present, and future – “How do you feel, what’s your condition? You are alive, but are you living?” and O’Callaghan questioning the listener (or perhaps within himself) “Whatever it is, whatever it isn’t – make sure that it’s real, or not. “Give me a voice, and I’ll give it a listen. Are you complete, or is something missing?”
Lovely Little Lonely is by far The Maine’s most emotionally personal release to date, and there truly is not a bad song on this record. I can’t speak enough high praise on this band, they’re doing it better than any band that’s currently active. The Maine have created a movement, join it.