The Maine are back with Lovely Little Lonely and sadly that’s really the extent of a descriptor I can give their return. Coming off the well received American Candy, they, oddly dial back what made Candy such a strong record and fall back into the previously nebulous position of a former punk band trying to find themselves.
The Maine are possibly the most productive group in their respective genre. In the 10 years since their debut EP, Stay Up, Get Down, they have released 6 full length albums, 9 EPs and a Live record. They are always working. To their credit, they have experimented with a lot of sounds in that 10 years, with most of the more obscure songs being on the various EPs. Luckily, when they release a proper new album, they know what their money makers are. Lovely Little Lonely is no different.
From the jump, “Won’t Come Down” and “Bad Behavior” throw a strong 1-2 punch. In fact, ”Bad Behavior” easily stands up to the rest of their catalog. It’s sassy, full of youth, and plays well really loud. John O’Callaghan’s unmistakable vocals permeate the song’s loose story and the bouncy guitar riff sounds like your prototypical “new single.” Had you told me this was recorded 7 years ago, to be included on Black and White I would believe you.
Lovely Little Lonely is quite top heavy with the best songs tapering off around track 8 with the solid yet predictable “The Sound of Reverie”. I’m not a fan of interlude tracks, and Lovely Little Lonely’s interludes are oddly long and unremarkable. It could be argued that “Lost In Nostalgia” and “Lonely” aren’t interludes, but doing that doesn’t help their cause. Both tracks meander between proper songs, and muddy the experience of the back half of an already shorter than expected album.
O’Callaghan benefits from his voice having fully transitioned out of its bratty mid-00’s sound and while not a fantastic vocalist, he has an intangibly earnest delivery, even during the up-tempo numbers. He’s not nearly as good of a lyricist as his contemporaries, but that has never gotten in the way before and still doesn’t.
Sadly, the accessibility found in songs like “Same Suit, Different Tie”, “Diet Soda Society”, and “English Girls” from American Candy seems to be missing. The Maine has shown growth from album to album, but Lovely Little Lonely feels like a side-step at best.
Verdict: There are some good tracks here, but if you aren’t already fan, I don’t know if this one will get you on board.