Make Do And Mend – “Don’t Be Long” Review
Posted: by Sean Gonzalez
I stated previously on our Anticipated Albums List that Make Do And Mend was one band I had never been a fan of. I’m going into their brand new full length Don’t Be Long without any bias or deep knowledge of their older songs. From just this record however, I can decipher their style as a mixture of post-hardcore and melodic punk.
Repeated listens to this LP leave me with good feelings toward the record. Infectious chorus hooks are ingrained in my head when I hear the melody approach, like self-titled opening track ‘Don’t Be Long.’ The strained scream-sings still have a pop influenced flow to make them easy to remember and insanely catchy. James Carroll’s vocal approach was something to get used too until I realized every line he spurts has plenty of emotion and all of his voice included. For an example of this check out ‘Bluff’ where Carroll is the entire reason the song is memorable.
Musically, Make Do And Mend stray towards the slower end of the spectrum. Most of these tracks will not kick off into a spastic blastbeat with guitar riffs frantically flying about, instead focusing on chord progressions and leads that can help establish a simple melody that meshes well with Carroll’s vocals. The drums will establish their presence on tunes with intricate lines and rolls, like on the track ‘Each Of Us.’
The two sister tracks ‘Sister Miedo’ and ‘Sin Amor’ did not captivate me as I think intended. Both of their vibes felt more stadium rock ala The Hold Steady and the moods were darker, leading to slower tracks without much to recall from them. ‘All There Is’ highlights how this band can do a slow track much better, allowing a natural build to explode from the beginning pulses. Carroll’s vocals break and bend between sung agony and screams laced with every ounce of his soul. The introspective lyrics open up the listener’s head and establishes a connection along with a natural flow.
‘I Don’t Wonder At All’ took me by surprise. Upon first listen I thought the acoustic guitar was just the opening act, but it maintains its stay and fits into the mood of this entire record. The sung vocals are solemn and filled with poetic lyric lines such as, “Are you overwhelmed by the weight of what you wanted now?” Which struck a chord with me. ‘Sanctimony’ feels like a swan song from the band, recalling their entire career in one drawn out track. The melody is easy to grab onto and weaves through the chugging guitars and bass. The song is extremely personal and reflective, ending with a reassurance that Make Do And Mend are not wanting to give in.
The closing track ‘Begging For The Sun To Go Down’ is hit or miss with me. The first time after it closed the record I was completely baffled. They really chose this soft of a song to close their third album? A few more listens to the song itself and I am in love with the atmosphere. It has a stronger build in it than a majority of the rest of the record. Now I wait for the latter half of the record because it is the most experimental side of Don’t Be Long. My first major experience with this band has left a stellar taste in my mouth, but at times I did feel a bit of an apprehensive need for something more, mainly in the middle of the album. Make Do And Mend release this 40 minute beast on February 24th through On Stay Close/Rise Records.