Mayday Parade – Valdosta EP
Record Label: Atlantic
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Let’s be honest: Anywhere But Here was a pretty huge letdown for most of us. The addictive hooks that drove both Tales Told By Dead Friends and A Lesson In Romantics were replaced with sappy pop melodies. Perhaps this was due to the absence of Jason Lancaster, who was a fundamental figure – both lyrically and vocally – in the two aforementioned records. Whatever reason behind this change, it left many fans distraught – and ultimately disappointed.
However, Mayday Parade’s latest EP, Valdosta has a little bit of everything: past, present, and future. First and foremost, the two new tracks, “Amber Lynn” and “Terrible Things,” may bring back the Mayday Parade missed on ABH. The former is a soft acoustic track with a nice southern draw, courtesy of guitarists Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts. The violin exit adds to the feel of the track, a nice touch indeed. The latter track creates a “Miserable At Best” feel with a piano melody as Sanders sings a love story in what is arguably one of the most poignant MP tracks yet. The final minute of the track is immensely powerful, exemplifying the passion Sanders possesses, a missing element the last go around.
The older acoustic tracks also prove to be a great treat for fans, especially the nostalgic “Your Song” and hit “Jamie All Over.” The stripped down version of “Your Song” proves to be even more emotional than the original, as the soft piano and backing vocals create layered intensity. Similarly, the fan favorite “Jamie All Over” doesn’t sound half bad, as expected, even with Jake Bundrick replacing Lancaster’s parts vocally. Even the acoustic “Kids In Love” is better than the original; it proves to be a good selection for this, as it was one of the few semi-memorable tracks off of Anywhere But Here, and Sander’s vocal delivery here is top notch. Still, “Bruised And Scarred” is just as melodramatic as it was the first time around, even with the nice violin addition.
All in all, while Valdosta only contains two new tracks, they’re clearly a step back in the right direction. The simplistic nature of each heightens their strength. Moreover, the TTBDF and ALIR-era acoustic inclusions will sure to continue to be fan favorites, making the only mediocre track being “Bruised And Scarred.” As a result, Valdosta will surely set Mayday Parade back on track, leaving listeners anxious for their upcoming full length record.