Make Do and Mend - End Measured Mile (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Make Do and Mend

End Measured Mile (2010)

Paper + Plastick / Panic

Let's face facts: Any band can record a great EP or two. Catching lightning in a bottle is far more common than a lot of folks realize. The trick is having the ability to keep that lightning ignited for a prolonged period of time--say, at least 10 songs and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. We're all well aware of the interesting soundscapes Make Do and Mend are capable of creating thanks to a pair of promising EPs (2007's We're All Just Living and 2009's Bodies of Water) but again, the question is: Will they be able to stretch and sustain that level of energy for an entire full-length? With End Measured Mile, the answer to that is a resounding "yes."

When discussing Make Do and Mend's sound, an often underappreciated and overlooked facet of it is how seamlessly they're able to pair melody and abrasiveness, reminiscent of perhaps a fuller, louder, alternate universe Hot Water Music--the opening 1-2 punch of "Unknowingly Strong" and "Oak Square" immediately establish this, and for a scene saturated with far, far too many bands blatantly aping HWM, Make Do and Mend's take on the sound is refreshingly unique.

The group has roots in the hardcore scene as well--they are from Connecticut, after all (same state as Hatebreed, natch), and remain affiliated with upstart hardcore label Panic Records--and those influences shine through both directly and indirectly. La Dispute vocalist Jordan Dreyer pops up to drop a verse on "Ghostal" and as expected, knocks it out of the park with his one-of-a-kind, perpetually ascending and descending delivery. Appropriately, the song is far more brooding sonically than its predecessors.

Make Do and Mend have also always been particularly adept at writing great choruses, to an extent that far exceeds most of their contemporaries. To that end, what "Winter Wasteland" was to Bodies of Water, "Transparent Seas" is to End Measured Mile; the song's strength lies in its chorus, with clever chord progressions via soloing paired with the commanding, throaty yell of vocalist James Carroll, and all of it kept together with excellent percussion from brother Matt Carroll.

The second half of EMM more than holds its own. "Stand/Stagger" is not only the fastest track on the album--it's also the heaviest, putting Make Do and Mend's musical agility at the forefront. "Thanks" boasts yet another great chorus, this time carried by Carroll's vocal hooks. And closer "Night's the Only Time of Day," as so many album finishers do, impressively utilizes the quiet/loud dynamic and contains clever lyrical callbacks to Side A closer "For a Dreamer," in addition to the obvious correlation between the two songs' titles. It's a great way to wrap up what will surely serve as MDAM's coming-out party for those unfamiliar with the band, and sheer confirmation for those of us who knew they were something special all along.