Make Do and Mend - End Measured Mile
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Record Label: Panic Records/Paper + Plastick Records
It isn't often that you hear a band that keeps a strong punk base and adds onto it a layer of impressive hooks. Make Do and Mend makes a habit of it. While their overwhelming sound is purely punk-based, the hooks laden on the group's latest release, End Measured Mile, are fantastically executed. This sort of style is rough enough for beardy punk fans to enjoy immensely, yet still accessible enough for all of their girlfriends to keep on their iPods.
"Unknowingly Strong" is a ferocious opener, with a blazing guitar riff and energetic, throaty vocals from James Carroll. Carroll's vocals stand out on this record, as the youthful sound of his voice doesn't compromise his emotion or aggression. The band's sound is cohesive, as though they are veterans of the post-hardcore scene, but this is their first full length record for Panic Records.
"Ghostal" is the next choice cut, featuring great backup vocals from La Dispute's Jordan Dreyers. Like the opener, "Ghostal" has a chorus that, while aggressive, is catchy enough to allow Make Do and Mend to appeal to a wide variety of listeners. Immediately following is the strongest song on the record, "Transparent Seas". The catchiest hook on End Measured Mile is presented in the chorus, where Carroll belts out, "But I would fold my hands and buckle to my knees / And I would pray the sky would fall down on me / I would stumble to the shore and be baptized in the waves / If it meant that everything we know doesn't go away, someday." The lyrics on this track and throughout End Measured Mile are more mature than those on Make Do and Mend's previous release, their Bodies of Water EP. The advancement in lyricism accompanies more polished and organized musicianship.
Don't think that the fact that Make Do and Mend has progressed has changed its overall sound, though. The band still bring a good amount of heaviness to the record, which can be heard on the short "For A Dreamer". "Keep This" begins with a solid hook and proves to be one of the easiest songs on End Measured Mile to sing along to. "Firewater" brings in another gem of a guitar hook but is highlighted by a string arrangement near the middle of the song. The strings are a nice touch to add in as the album is winding down. Closer "Night's the Only Time of Day" has an intro that lulls the listener into an unsuspecting state before the chorus begins an complete assault. A strong bridge and good guitar work set up for a final chorus that rounds out the record.
By the end of the record, the listener is left drained. An almost physical toll is taken and it leads me to believe that Make Do and Mend probably has a live show that absolutely slays. The band has an audible chemistry on this record and it makes End Measured Mile an exhilarating listen all the way through. The album carries with it a sense of in-the-moment passion and urgency. Make Do and Mend conveys an emotion though its music that is tough to match, but still gives the listener enough substance to have a significant lasting value. After countless repeat listens, it isn't even a bold statement for me to make when I say that End Measured Mile is the best post-hardcore record of the year. It's just that obvious.
This is such an excellent album. One of the best punk records in the last few years, and I really can't think of many bands who could debate that although of course there are a few. Very well done review, very fair score. Personally, I think the lyrics deserve around 9. Even if there are a few hiccups,
overall I found the writing to be the most powerful aspect of the album.
"Maybe I'm fucking up, but I think that that's okay, yeah, just so long as I'm learning everyday."
I swear to God, Keep This is going to be my jam for a very long time.