Released - December 6, 2011
Producers - The Maine, Colby
Label - Action Theory
The Maine’s release of their newest album Pioneer was all around impressive. From the beginning of their music career back in 2007, it was apparent that these five guys set the ground work for a potential rising. Shortly after in 2008 they released their first full-length album titled Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. The song “Into Your Arms” was one of the more memorable hits from its debut. The turn-around time of their sophomore album Black & White was fairly fast compared to the amount of other projects the band had going, including publishing a book, but unimpressive to say the least. By this time the band had signed to Warner Bros. and worked with producer Howard Benson.
The band chose to release Pioneer independently for whatever reason, and the change that occurred in the process complimented their music reputation with a positive element because it shows.
Throughout the album there are several noticeable highlights. The introduction is perceptive leading with the song “Identify.” Not only does the simple beginning and mellow vocals set the mood for the powerful drum beat and title-references, it also does an honorable job of providing strength for the songs to flow. Continuing the string of connection between the songs is “My Heroine” where a touch of punk-style is hidden within the beat and rough vocal style of singer John O’Callaghan. The song “Thinking Of You” has a razor-thin pop-vibe edge. With the way they put it, whether it is supposed to be a good or bad affect, thinking of someone can be an energy booster rather than a drainer. There are two slower ballads on the album “Time” and “Jenny” lyrically they remain equal, but at points the sound becomes a bit of a drag. The song “Misery” pulls the anxiety of emotions closer to the heart, and perfectly placed literally at the heart of the record.
A unique quality to the album is its constant ingenious deception. There are many times when it is necessary to stop listening to focus on the fact that the same band is present during the entirety of the record. O’Callaghan has a voice made of smooth matter with the capability of throwing a controlled tantrum when necessary. The instruments are well rounded next to the lyrics. At certain areas it seems like the background music alone could tell the story of the song. Only on few occasions does music that makes up a whole album require unrealized mind-grasping enlightenment and an awe-struck attention span.
Their sound brings back what was treasured in the alternative rock era of the ‘90s and early 2000s, buried with crucial allocations of rock-and-roll that have been missing in current mainstream music. That is precisely the deepest root of what makes Pioneer an album to embrace. The Maine has created a record that not only derives from the popular music trends, but combines nostalgic musical materials of the past with an uncertainty of what the future holds. Whether they are struggling to find their identity or just being playfully deceitful is completely irrelevant, the point is they have gained independence and are moving forward regardless of what that may mean.