Album Review: Mayday Parade - 'Sunnyland'
‘Sunnyland’ is the sixth studio album to be released on June 15th 2018 by Florida rock band Mayday Parade. The five piece band signed to Rise Records earlier this year and this thirteen track gem of an album is their first with the label.
The American rockers formed in 2005, They have gained a strong fanbase and a loyal following which was obvious to see as I caught them at their headline show at Newcastle’s Riverside last week and after seeing them live I was really excited to hear the album in its entirety. It’s rare now that a band is around for as long as they have been and with ‘Sunnyland’ they have stepped it up a notch. The opening tracks ‘Never Sure’ and ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious’ give the album an incredibly
intense opening. ‘Never Sure’ is a classic Mayday Parade rock song and also their second single from the album. ‘It’s Hard To Be Religious’ is an attention grabbing, angry song. It was written by front-man Derek Sanders just after the Presidential election and he was horrified that something like that happening was even possible. Of the track Sanders said ‘It wasn’t all directed at Trump. It was just the mindset I found myself in’. He also said that it brought him hope and appreciation of what he had.
After the energy-driven first two tracks, the tempo changes as we hear ‘Piece Of Your Heart’. A slower melodic ballad that changes the vibe of the album completely and takes us to their more acoustic sound, such as their earlier tracks ‘Miserable At Best’ & ‘Stay’. Track four, ‘Is Nowhere’ can only be described as a fairground. It’s like you start off on the fastest rollercoaster and end up on the slowest carousel!, taking a different musical direction starting off much heavier than what Mayday Parade are known for and ending with a stunning emotional piano solo which was so unexpected when listening to the start of the song. This takes us perfectly into Track five ‘Take My Breath Away’ - an elegant acoustic track which really showcases Sanders’ vocal abilities.
‘Stay The Same’ is next up, another slower song but this time not acoustic. It fits well into the album, but it’s not a stand out addition. It does however show off the guitar skills of both Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts. The album again steps up a gear as we move to ‘How Do You Like Me Now’, another guitar based song with a stand out chorus. The cleverly written acoustic track ‘Where You Are’ is heard before going into diamond of a track ‘If I Were You’ with a chorus driven by the lyric ‘It’s 3am and I’m Lonely’. It has a total festival vibe that I could totally imagine being an encore song that everyone sang along to during their set. Not all love songs are slow and acoustic and ‘Looks Red, Tastes Blue’ shows this to be true. It has both good drum beats and gives the full band sound that Mayday Parade are known for and
sits in a very good place in the album.
The last song is title track ‘Sunnyland’. It shows emotion and honesty, in both the music and the vocals. It’s a real beautiful way to end the album, I think this could become one of those classic anthem tracks. ‘Sunnyland’ really feels like a story of two albums, a slow atmospheric acoustic one and then the in your face classic pop-punk, rock album. It really is a total mixed bag of dynamic rhythms and showcases the bands best work and brings it to life, echoing the pattern of their live sets. There
really is something for everyone. Perhaps a different order of tracks, or a Part 1 / Part 2 would have played more in their favour audience wise, but it somehow just works.
After listening to the album four times, it really is typical of their live show, showing an array of musical talent, skills and influence that takes you on a journey that smartly intertwines rock, pop-punk, love songs, acoustic tracks and I’m sure there is a slight folk / country vibe in the mix, with everything else in between.
Words by Lauren Stewart