Simply from the circumstances of its creation, Maypine’s Bend / Break should be brimming with catharsis and a bracing power that’s always welcome in the alt-rock scene. After all, following a fire that destroyed almost all of frontman Jase and his fiancée’s possessions, the severe life changes are what underscore the Brighton quintet’s newest release, so much so that any previous material has now been pushed aside for this to be seen as their true debut, and representing a move from pop-punk to alt-rock.
Unfortunately there’s nothing even remotely as interesting to say about the actual music, as Bend / Break sees yet another band digging their heels into early 2010’s Britrock to desperately try and eke out some semblance of wider appeal, and having no such fortune. Honestly, this could’ve been released in 2011 and no one would’ve batted an eyelid; big, cinematic guitars dominate an equally wide overall mix, while Jase’s vocals try to use their natural British vulnerability and put-on smolder for everything they’re worth. Melodically, there’s some nice style to a track like Give with its more overtly extravagant presentation, but everything else, be it production or instrumentation, has not much else to speak of.
Even in the writing which definitely has bit more of note to it, Maypine’s approach feels so basic and worn-out, largely dominated by big-hearted platitudes that reaches the pinnacle of cringeworthiness on Kodokushi, with its dime-store moralities about kindness and love feeling so mawkish and overwrought. At least from the angle of hook-writing, Maypine don’t fare too badly with their attempts here, but there’s not a lot that really sticks beyond initial exposure, and the whole thing just seems kind of perfunctory.
And because of that, it’s difficult to see what Maypine are going to do next. They clearly have faith in the direction they’re taking, but it hasn’t proven too fruitful the first time around, and if this is how they’re carrying on, it won’t then either. Bend / Break isn’t exactly terrible, but with a lack of any individual features – or really anything that stands out to any capacity – Maypine are going to have a tough time going forward.
For fans of: Lower Than Atlantis, We Are The Ocean, Boston Manor
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Bend / Break’ by Maypine is released on 6th July.