The Maine – Black & White CD Review

Warner / Sire

By: Valerie Bennett

The boys of The Maine are back on the scene and this time around they’re a little less saturated with the release of their second album Black & White. The follow up album hit stores on July 13th while the Arizona quintet continued on their headlining tour “An Evening With The Maine”, in support of the latest release.

Some may say that Black & White just can’t compare to the band’s debut album Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, released by Fearless Records two years ago. It graced several Billboard charts, launching The Maine into immediate success as pop rock fans lapped up their easily identifiable lyrics, catchy hooks, and soulful melodies. The Maine haven’t strayed too far from their original sound, but that’s not too say that it hasn’t evolved.

They return on Black & White to provide a much tighter album – in regards to both execution and production – showcasing their progression over the past two years. The evolution of their sound is evident throughout each track, yet every song flows seamlessly together, demonstrating the thought that went into the song selection and sequencing. Black & White just goes to show that The Maine has mastered the art of pop rock.

The album has your toes tapping from the start, with the opening track “Don’t Stop Now”. The combination of smooth vocals and clean instrumentals give the listener a taste of what to expect throughout. Following that is “Right Girl” recounting “a bad fling with a good girl.” It’s anthemic lyrics deems the track fit to be an upcoming single.

The album’s first single, however, appears midway through Black & White. “Inside Of You”, released in early May, served as a perfect introduction to The Maine’s refined sound. The song begins with a brief drum sequence before the main guitar leads into the first verse. The instrumentals are clear, the vocals simple, and the lyrics catchy, as front man John O'Callaghan croons throughout. The album’s most recent single comes from the song “Growing Up” which builds momentum from the first verse into the chorus and ongoing. The lyrics tell of the eternal struggle many young people face as they’re growing up, though as O’Callaghan points out, “Growing up won’t bring us down”.

However, the standout song on the album is “Every Road”. It is the most honest and telling song on Black & White, written solely by The Maine. The song describes the toils of touring as a band and leaving your life and loved ones behind. In following with the rest of the album, the instrumentals are clear and therefore prominent, but don’t overpower the message of the song:

I’ve been gone for a while / Been traveling alone / Searching for a new life / When I already had my own / So walk back home / On every road. / On every road / We cross alone / We’re thinking of those we left back home / So follow the lines / And I’ll be your guide / ‘Cause we’re the lucky ones.

All in all, with their toe tapping tempos, catchy choruses and hooks that you can’t help but hum along with, The Maine prove there are no shades of grey throughout Black & White.