Mayday Parade were one of those bands who emerged in the late 00’s with ‘A Lesson In Romantics’, a few years after bands like Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy really broke through and set the bar for upbeat pop-punk with long song names. Sadly Mayday Parade’s second album was definitely a sophomore slump and their third eponymous self-titled wasn’t much better. They’re one of those bands who have never managed to beat their debut, which sound tracked a good amount of my teens. It’s mainly down to the departure of vocalist Jason Lancaster, but with his band Go Radio also going downhill it makes you wonder if Mayday Parade will ever recapture what made their debut such an instant classic. ‘Monsters In The Closet’ isn’t a shining return to form, but it’s by no means a bad album.
If you’ve listened to their last album ‘Mayday Parade’ at least twice then ‘Monsters In The Closet’ will sound very familiar, verging on identical. If you also liked their 2011 album then chances are you’ll like their 2013 release. If like me, you weren’t a massive fan then you may struggle with their new album, because it carries a similar vibe, tone and lyrical message. The band get full marks for consistency but it means that ‘Monsters In The Closet’ doesn’t really bring anything new, with the band treading already covered ground to the point of monotony. Like I said, depending on your stance this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the whole record a little repetitive, despite it’s more unique and charming moments.
The record definitely has these moments, and most of them come in the second half, on tracks like ‘Demons’ and final track ‘Angels’, which most resemble the bands earliest work. The dual vocals on the closer will have listeners pining for Lancaster’s return, serving as a nostalgia trip to an extent. Not to say that current vocalist Derek Sanders doesn’t perform enough for two on the other twelve tracks, because he does. His delicate yet powerful delivery is one of the main draws on ‘Monsters In The Closet’ and the album is at its best on the slow burners when he’s giving free reign to affect his audience whilst the instrumentals take a back seat, be it the piano driven ‘Even Robots Need Blankets’ or the power pop ballad ’12 Through 15’. Mayday Parade are strongest when they take the pedal of the gas and play more tentative and emotional songs, and there’s enough of these on ‘Monsters In The Closet’ to merit its purchase. The more up tempo tracks like lead single ‘Girls’ are still noteworthy, containing that trademark Mayday Parade talent for writing catchy and contagious alt-rock songs. Bar a few, the faster songs are where the repetition is most apparent and as a result they’re also the most forgettable, no matter how many sing song gang vocals are thrown in. They aren’t bad, but they’re something you’ve heard a dozen times before, especially across the bands discography. The song writing here is very good, and it’s an area the band have never lacked in. ‘Monsters In The Closet’ peaks and cruises at the right times to make memorable tracks that are hard hitting and reflective, most so on the softer songs, where the record really excels. Lyrically, expect more of the same cliché and emotive songs about heartbreak and relationships. It doesn’t quite compare to the fast and witty content of their debut but I didn’t really expect it to, and I doubt many people did.
‘Monsters In The Closet’ contains a lot to like, but at times it does come across as stale and lacklustre. The odd spark of past glories shines in a few of the songs, and the album is a somewhat redeeming release that maintains that traditional Mayday Parade energy and vulnerability, despite falling short of what the band are capable of.
Rating – 7/10