The title 3.0 is in reference to the third era of Mae as a band, and on this six-song teaser for their upcoming full-length, the weather-worn Virginia rock band displays a keen and mature balance of Mae 1.0 and Mae 2.0, alongside hints of how the band could continue to grow into the future.
The most disappointing aspect of the EP is its lack of new content for fans who've been following the band. Half of the six tracks have already been released: at the time of writing this review, "Let It Die" is over a month old, "5 Light Years" is a season old, and "Our Love is a Painted Picture" is over an entire year old. Of the other three tracks, only the opener, "Sing," will actually appear on the full-length; meanwhile, "Space" is six minutes of noise and "A Race for Our Autonomy" is, here, only an acoustic version of what will be included on the album. Overall, this will be good news to two sets of people: those who have not yet heard the pre-release singles, and those who want as little of the new album as possible to be spoiled.
I considered docking the star rating for this EP because of the lack of new material, but what changed my mind is the simple fact that all these songs get better and better with each listen. In the same way that Destination: Beautiful did a great job of reinterpreting Jimmy Eat World's Clarity, "Let It Die" is like a distillation of the best aspects of Jimmy Eat World's Integrity Blues, while also boasting an unbelievably catchy chorus that should please fans of both The Everglow and Singularity. "5 Light Years" continues to impress as well, especially in its experimental second half. Also, enough changes have been made to "Painted Picture" from its original version to please the band's more careful listeners.
The opener, "Sing" (which is expected to be the full-length's opener as well), is compositionally thin and would seem to function better as an album introduction than as a standalone song, but this track benefits perhaps the most from repeat listens, as its production is filled with dense layers of sounds and synths that lean into Mae's heavier tendencies while burying the heaviness beneath a wash of warmth that somehow keeps the proceedings soft and beautiful. It's the strange new directions and experiments of songs like this and "5 Light Years" that represent how this third iteration of Mae differs from the Mae of the previous decade. It's an exciting prospect for a band I couldn't be happier to have back in the scene.- Review date: 10/4/18, written by Chase Tremaine of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
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