MAYPINE – ‘Bend/Break’

By Gem Rogers

Let’s get straight down to business – because that’s exactly what Brighton alt-rockers MAYPINE do on new EP ‘Bend/Break’. Prepare yourself in advance, because you won’t be given a second to breathe once you hit play on this one.

First track and lead single ‘Give’ kicks straight in with thudding drums and an airy, stadium filling riff. It’s wonderfully well crafted; pared back verses building steadily into a beautiful, dramatic chorus where front man Jason Payne’s intense vocals soar.

‘Kodokushi’ carries on in a similar vein, with some cave-level reverb going on – though at only three minutes, it feels like it’s only just got going when it ends. Highlighted by the steady bass of Tommy Roberts, the lyrics of the verses in particular feel personal, almost conversational – “I don’t care who you are / or where you’re from / everyone needs to feel like they have a place to belong”. If that seems a little sombre, it won’t when listening to the song – it’s laced with a positivity that gives away their pop punk roots.

Third song and second single ‘Weather’ is the closest thing to a ballad MAYPINE are giving us on this release. It might not be particularly slow (which isn’t a bad thing), but it has Love Song written all over it as guitars dance around Payne’s gentle words. It’s a little more standard and less hooky than the other three tracks, though still enjoyable.

The dramatics are kicked back up a notch for the fourth and final song, ‘Together Alone’. One thing this band definitely don’t do is slouch on intros; every single one is powerful and purposeful, and ‘Together Alone’ is the best of them. It’s the sort of track that has your hand reaching for the “Repeat 1” button; elevating yet soothing, it’s perfect for sunny summer afternoons.

‘Bend/Break’ isn’t what you might expect from a band whose first EP, ‘In The Back of My Mind’, was considerably more pop-punk. It’s atmospheric, moody, captivating alt-rock- think Mallory Knox with a sprinkling of Jimmy Eat World and modern Thrice. A big leap from where they started, maybe, but this new sound seems to fit perfectly.

The one thing that the EP could do with is a little more variety – though considering its brevity and what we’ve already heard from MAYPINE in the past, there’s little doubt there’s enough room and skill for that in future releases. It may not be the newest or most unique sound, but what matters is the five piece are doing it right; the result is songs you can’t help but want to keep listening to. This is one you’ll definitely want to add to your playlist this summer.

GEM ROGERS

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