Capitol Records, 2007
REVIEW BY: Cory Galliher
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/30/2008
Mae, for those unfamiliar with the band, stands for “Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience.” According to the band's drummer, Jacob Marshall, it refers to experiencing art across many senses; for instance, synesthesia is a real-life phenomenon in which one associates a certain passage of music with a particular color.
To properly examine Mae's latest album, Singularity, then, I could attempt to associate it with a color. I imagine it'd be some pale shade of blue: the album is generally pleasant and inoffensive. Then again, I could just go with a more traditional approach to reviewing and look at the various tracks on the album.
The first single “Sometimes I Can't Make It Alone” has got that essential quality of being able to lodge itself firmly in listeners’ heads. This track also represents a bit of a shift in direction for Mae towards a more heavy form of rock, away from the mellow sound of past albums. This theme is common throughout Singularity, making it Mae's hardest album yet -- it's still not going to appeal to metalheads by any means, but it might draw comparisons to bands like Green Day.
One of Mae's best qualities is that they're very technically proficient -- at no point does their music ever actually sound bad. The biggest issue with their previous albums was that it tended to become a bit boring instead. On previous albums, and to an extent on this album, Mae's songs often have an ethereal, dreamy sound that will quickly put fans of harder music to sleep despite being decent in their own right.
Singularity is less of a victim of this, however; though that dreamy element is still there, Mae has managed to mix it with a more mainstream sound on tracks like “Brink Of Disaster” and “Waiting.” This gives the disc a unique, smooth feel that sets it apart from other modern rock albums. This is certainly a love-it or hate-it sort of thing, since, as mentioned above, fans of hard rock won't find much to like here. Fans of Mae's previous albums are likely to appreciate “Release Me,” on the other hand, a calm, soothing track reminiscent of their older work.
All in all, Singularity is an aesthetic experience that fans of Mae are bound to enjoy. It's also poised to draw in new listeners; it caught my interest and led me to seek out some of the band's other work. It's easy to recommend this album to modern rock fans with a tolerance for a more mellow sound.