Make Do and Mend - Everything You Ever Loved (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Make Do and Mend

Everything You Ever Loved (2012)


Make Do And Mend's 2010 debut full-length End Measured Mile turned a lot of heads in both directions. While many (including this writer) praised it as a triumph from a young band realizing their potential, others mourned its existence, perceiving as a downgrade from their excellent Bodies of Water EP. Most of that guff was the result of a slightly more streamlined approach to modern post-hardcore. It's a puzzling argument, because those seeds have always been there, even going back to We're All Just Living; MDAM have quickly gotten comfortable in their own skin, and their sound more assured as a result. Their new album, Everything You Ever Loved, likely won't satiate fans pining for Bodies of Water II, but it's still a mostly solid effort--even if it's not a huge step up from End Measured Mile.

As stated less explicitly above, MDAM's take on post-hardcore has always been laced with accessibility. That doesn't change on this album. One noticeable shift on Everything You Ever Loved is away from heaviness. The intricacies of first and second tracks "Blur" and "Disassemble" are wildly different from the brute forces that were "Unknowingly Strong" and "Oak Square," trading dense power chords for more austere arrangements. In the case of "Disassemble," the band truly do more with less, and the style works, largely due to the guitar work of Mike O'Toole and James Carroll. The escalating intensity of "Count" highlights the band's progress as musicians as well, especially that of drummer Matt Carroll.

"St. Anne" and "Drown In It" venture into softer territory, with an orchestral backing. It's an interesting backdrop for a band that's so typically aggressive and a mostly successful experiment, even though these momentary directional shifts will probably turn off even more listeners. Same goes for the straight-up poppiness of "Stay in the Sun" and the balladesque distance of closer "Desert Lily." If anything, it's impossible to claim the band aren't trying new things.

Everything You Ever Loved isn't a perfect album, but it is a perfect snapshot of where Make Do And Mend are right now in their career. Gaining traction within and outside of the punk scene, and with a label like Rise backing them, it's likely they'll gain 10 new fans for every one alienated. They're probably okay with that.