With three previous studio albums successfully under their belt, Mayday Parade has built quite a solid name and sound for themselves amongst the pop-punk/alternative music scene. As their undeniable fan base continues to grow, it’s no doubt that these Florida-natives know exactly what it is that makes their sound so unique, continuing to deliver with a schedule jam packed with tours, singles and the constant demand of such loyal listeners. The band’s fourth studio album, “Monsters in the Closet,” is no exception to their success, carrying on the streak of such an idealistic Mayday sound. And while some could easily argue that the album is too much of what we’ve clearly already heard before, others may say that perhaps this may not be such a bad thing.
The opening track starts off acapella, harmonizing the entire bands’ vocals with frontman Derek Sanders. As soon as the rifts bump into high gear though, the chorus embellishes an undeniable hook that’ll have anyone singing along. Of course, the serene end of violins and pianos can only help the song, boosting the melody to be something even better than it already was. And these catchy tempos seem to be a common theme amongst Mayday Parade’s work, especially in this last release. “Girls” for example, while defining the idea of pop punk at its finest, may be one of my favorites for the sheer fact that I can never get it out of my head.
“The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Nonbeing” is another standout that shines with light melodies and impressive vocals. The track toys with the constant idea of light and dark, contradicting the upbeat tempo with the lyrics’ darker take on love. In all aspects, the song is one of the few implications of true growth on this album, embellishing a brisk and refreshingly different take on lyricism from the guys.
Don’t get me wrong; while the bands’ development is more than obvious since the days of “A Lesson in Romantics,” it seems like Mayday Parade has hit some sort of wall over the course of their last few albums. It’s difficult not to pinpoint a song of theirs, whether the giveaway is a rift arrangement or the distinguishable sound of Sanders’ voice; for avid fans, that is a great thing to know and have. However, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to their sound just waiting for the right moment to showcase itself, or if this is all there is to look forward to in albums to come.
But every album needs a solid ballad. “Even Robots Needs Blankets,” hosts a lovely piano melody, with lyrics able to hold weight all on their own. In all reality, this is not your typical sad, pessimistic take on love gone wrong, but rather a cute love song that’ll have you saying “aww” in all the right places (for example: “Singing ‘Oh, love get me out of the cold’/Hold me right by the fire and I’ll show you what home means now/ The words came with a new kind of sadness/ They meant everything, you mean everything to me”). This is the kind of song that proves just why Mayday Parade has been such a prominent band for as long as they have, showcasing Sanders’ vocals to the absolute best of his ability.
And of course there’s “Sorry Not Sorry,” which I find to be one of the riskier songs on the album. Driven by a majority of songs lacking a bit of diversity, a large bulk of the experimentation on this album falls on to this one. At times, it’s difficult to decide what era of Mayday this song may in fact belong to, if at all. Between the rock-esque guitar work and the more so pop-sounding vocals, it seems to be an experiment of sorts, something that I think the rest of this album could really use to its advantage.
Though despite this, Mayday Parade has been a dominant force since their very first release; there’s no denying that on any level. Despite the exit of original front man Jason Lancaster early on in the bands’ start, Sanders’ was able to successfully take on the large role that’s shot them to such a successful career thus far, not to mention what I’m sure has yet to come. “Monsters in the Closet” is just a tidbit of this success, something that makes it so difficult to dislike this album, and really the band as a whole. For its lack of diversity, it’s hard to say whether or not this is a lull in what could’ve been a potentially groundbreaking album; perhaps they’re not looking for change. But despite their intentions, they should consider this album well received, something to reinforce whatever love for Mayday Parade we may have already had. It’s a solid release, well thought out and one that embodies the hard work this band clearly put in. And while myself, and I’m sure others, would have liked to hear a trailing taste of something new, there’s no denying that they’ve simply given their fans exactly what makes them continue to listen in the first place.