Mayday Parade - A Lesson in Romantics (Cover Artwork)

Mayday Parade

A Lesson in Romantics (2007)


My attention was originally directed toward Mayday Parade by their addition to the under-the-radar Punk Goes Acoustic 2. Having never heard them before, I was extremely impressed by the songwriting and vocals on their piano version of "Three Cheers for Five Years." So it was only natural to get my hands on their 2006 EP Tales Told by Dead Friends and their newest release, A Lesson in Romantics.

If you are familiar with this band, you can expect more of the same on Romantics, but this isn't a bad thing. The same energy and smart lyrics found on their 2006 EP are present throughout the album. However, despite any similarities and the fact that only a few months passed between the two releases, Romantics definitely sounds like a more mature record. The music is tight with engaging hooks and great production. Every song seems to have something to catch your attention, and in the weeks since getting my hands on it I've listened to the album in its entirety several times.

While Romantics as a whole is a great record, there are, or course, standout tracks. "Black Cat" starts off with a chorus that brings to mind something you'd expect from the Academy Is..., and towards the end becomes a high-energy romp starring a strong guitar solo and breakdown hook of "this jealous actress has a habit of making things sound way too tragic." There's more than a touch of emo on the album, as well, as evidenced in the track "Walk on Water or Drown" where the chorus ends "sing me a song, it's been too long since I've heard you sing." The same is true on "Jersey," with the chorus of "Jersey just got colder and / I'll have you know I'm scared to death / That everything that you had said / To me was just a lie until you left."

Speaking of emo, Mayday Parade decided to take a break halfway through Romantics with the track "Miserable at Best," which emulates the Punk Goes Acoustic formula of two vocals and piano. Normally I'd complain about switching from faster, energy-driven tracks to a slow, piano love song. In this case, the complaint is hard to register because the lyrics are so well-written and both vocalists seem to work around and with each other to provide a song that still ends up catchy, even if it is slow. Still though, it would been better served as a bonus track or record-ender instead of nearly bringing the album to a screeching halt.

I could say pretty much the same things about almost every track on Romantics. If you're looking for fun music with catchy hooks, talented musicians, and vocalists who can actually sing well, this is a band you need to check out. This is a band I plan on following to see what they can do in the future as they continue to mature.