John O’Callaghan sets the tone for The Maine’s third studio album “Pioneer” in the opening track when he sings, “Don’t stand in line/ Identify.” Despite setbacks during the recording and release of “Pioneer,” The Maine has come out on top with a stellar record. The Tempe-based group has truly found their niche with this sound.
Released on Dec. 8, “Pioneer” follows in the footsteps of the band’s previous album “Black and White” in terms of skill and talent. The band incorporates rock and country influences along with gritty vocals to create an album that contains no filler tracks.
The highlight tracks include “Some Days,” “While Listening to Rock and Roll…” and the closing song “Waiting for My Sun to Shine.” All three songs show off the guitar skills of Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco and also display the growing strength of O’Callaghan’s voice. “Waiting for My Sun to Shine” is especially unique as it combines two songs into one and lasts nearly 15 minutes.
While the entire album is strong both lyrically and musically, “Jenny” and “Misery” are a more obvious departure from the band’s typical sound. “Jenny” is a slow, country-tinged ballad that is the most accurate indicator of how far the band has grown from their pop punk roots to a cohesive rock outfit. O’Callaghan’s crooning vocals fit perfectly with the rock and country balance. “Misery” takes a different turn with O’Callaghan practically screaming the lyrics at the end of the song.
The Maine has certainly grown into their own sound, however, such growth did not come without challenges. In interviews with Alternative Press and AbsolutePunk the band explained that they had a clear direction for the album that did not mesh with the label’s vision.
In a recent interview with The State Press, the band said that Warner Brothers did not want them to release an album so soon after 2010’s “Black and White.” This caused the band to create an independent label, Action Theory Records, so that they could release the final product.
The effort was entirely worth it as this album is the band’s best work to date.
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