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Mayday Parade – Monsters In The Closet

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  1. Melody Bot

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    I’m not really into pop-rock music anymore. That might be a shock to the people who know me/follow me on Twitter, but it’s true – the oversaturation of the genre has really turned me off to the entire sound. Despite all of my preconceived notions about this style of music, Mayday Parade always seem to write an album that needles its way into my heart. I hate using the term “guilty pleasure,” so I’m not going to use here, especially on a band that just wrote 12 huge tracks on its latest release, Monsters In The Closet – an album built for arenas.

    Now, I’m not saying the band has reinvented the wheel or anything – rather they’ve continued to refine and perfect the pop-rock sound so many fans fell in love with six years on A Lesson In Romantics. Vocalist Derek Sanders is still one of the most emphatic and charismatic front men today and he totally owns each of Monsters’ twelve tracks. “Ghosts” kicks off Monsters with Sanders singing a cappella (with the band harmonizing behind him) before kicking it into high gear. Drummer Jake Bundrick punctures through the dueling guitar riffs of Brooks Betts and Alex Garcia while Sanders carries the song’s massive hook. And honestly, nearly every song has a monstrous hook. “Girls” and “Repent and Repeat” go from zero to sixty in an instant (displaying the band’s pop-punk chops), while “Last Night For A Table Of Two” and “The Torment of Existence Weighed Against The Horror Of Nonbeing” (awesome Calvin and Hobbes reference by the way) showcase the continuous growth in the band’s songwriting (Betts and Garcia have really outdone themselves on Monsters).

    Some might complain that these songs are just different variations of previous Mayday releases, but really I see Monsters In The Closet as a collection of the very best Mayday Parade has in its arsenal. I’m not putting on a Mayday Parade album for experimental time signatures and the like – I want Derek Sanders and company to unleash stadium-sized anthems and moving piano ballads, both of which Monsters In The Closet delivers on. “Demons” and “Sorry, Not Sorry” take care of the former. “Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About” is classic Mayday – clever lyrics and dynamic call-and-return vocals from Sanders and Bundrick over soaring guitars melodies. But the band’s bread and butter (for me at least) have always been complimenting those fist-pumping anthems with slower songs that show off the band’s versatility. Even though it features a cheesy title, “Even Robots Need Blankets” has Sanders pouring out his heart over a light piano melody.

    And then there’s “Hold Onto Me,” the band’s best ballad yet. Instead of constructing it around another piano melody, it’s built around a bluesy guitar riff from Garcia and Sander’s voice control – going from cooing to crackling, as he pours out everything vocally. “Hold Onto Me” embodies how far Sanders has come as a singer (as well as the band’s overall musicianship) and why he’s one of the premiere front men in the genre.

    What’s most impressive about Monsters In The Closet to me is the edge Mayday Parade possesses throughout. The Tallahassee quintet isn’t resting on its laurels and instead has unleashed a monster of an album – the band’s best effort since 2007’s “A Lesson In Romantics.” Mayday Parade’s songwriting has never sounded this crisp and energetic, with Derek Sanders turning in his most passionate vocal performance yet. So yeah, I don’t always listen to pop-rock music, but when I do, I prefer Monsters in the Closet.

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