Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mae – Destination: Beautiful

July 20, 2003

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding this new band Mae. They sport a cryptic band name, cd name, and website name. They have an independent label affiliation, but play all over mtv, mtv2, and mtv.com. Who are they?! Let’s see…

The album kicks off with some distant sounding, haunting, but very beautiful melody. That’s a great indicator of where the album falls on the ears: music that rocks, but is also beautiful, creative, and tightly crafted. The intro flows into the lead single, “Embers and Envelopes”. It always seems that the most annoying on any album becomes the lead single. It’s way too melodic, with not enough crunch in the guitar, strength in the vocals, or coolness in the riff to make it work.

Next, some minor chord hitting on an acoustic guitar opens up the moody, driving rock of ‘This Time Is The Last Time’. This is different, because Mae’s signature style is to put the focus on individual instruments, which means that the band is hardly ever playing with all the pieces together except for choruses and bridges. It flows perfectly though. Where the previous song featured misplaced vocals, a boring riff, and no creativity, this is completely the opposite, delivering the best of all three. It’s one of the rock-ier tracks on the album. “All Deliberate Speed” bridges the gap between the first two songs, with the moody but never dark sound of track 2 with the high vocals and melodic energy of one. It is easily one of the best on “D:B”.

“Runaway” passes, and “Sun”, a bass-driven song, appears. This song contains the actual line “Destination: Beautiful”. It also features a great breakdown, catchy chorus, and beautiful piano outro. “Last Call” is catchy to the max throughout the song, and “Skyline Drive” slows things down in a simple, beautiful, satisfying way. Then, to reverse the energy, “Soundtrack to Our Movie” starts out in true Mae fashion but eventually features three different guitar riffs (seriously, riffs.). You’ll press repeat on this one.

“Summertime” finds us….rocking out! The entire way! The best rock song on this album, it features passionate vocals, catchy melody, driving rhythm, and happiness. It’s the single that has been all over MTV, and with good reason. Slowing things back down on “Giving it Away” is a good touch, and the astutely titled, infectious “Goodbye, Goodnight” ends us on an high note, tempo and mood -wise.

Overall, I love this CD. The lyrics here are great. They actually don’t deal with relationships that much (Thank You!), but with frustrations, insecurities, and overall, hope. Perfect for a mellow day, it’s a beautiful, rocking piece of art. It fits the rock scale somewhere between the Lifehouse and Coldplay, with the intensity of Lifehouse and the beauty and tightness of Coldplay. Mae is the band to watch. Pick up this CD now, cause it will be a classic someday. 9 out of 10.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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