Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mae: (E)vening

This may well be the last collection of music that Mae ever records.

Think about that, Mae fans.  Here is a band that's been part of your life for years, and this EP might be the last thing they ever say to you.  As sobering a thought as that is, it's the right mindset to listen to (E)vening.  This EP is certainly a departure from the first two "seasonal" EPs, and in just a year and a half, we've come a long way from the ebullient exaltation that the beginning of the day offered.

Instead, (E)vening plays out like a giant catharsis, the emotional capstone to Mae's oeuvre.  The mood is reflective and serene throughout, consistently recalling the past, asking us to remember--or not giving us words at all, just making us think.  Even the most ostensibly upbeat and energetic track on the EP, "I Just Needed You to Know," is filled with questions of "do you remember?", and the only other two tracks on (E)vening that have words are even more nostalgic.

The EP has either 7 or 9 tracks, depending on how you look at it; three tracks are movements of one larger piano piece, the appropriately named "Seasons," that forms the focus of the EP.  Counting "Seasons," over half of the album is instrumental, and nearly all of that is piano.  It's like a victory lap for Rob Sweitzer, newly reunited to Mae for this EP and the Goodbye, Goodnight tour; it's obvious that Mae is glad to have him back, and the longtime fans certainly are too.

And in the end, Mae's longtime fans are exactly the audience for (E)vening.  It's not a collection of music that's going to get much if any play outside of the most dedicated fans of the band.  Nor is it a collection of music that's really going to get you excited about Mae if you heard it in isolation; it's certainly not the rock-out Mae of "Someone Else's Arms".  But it is gorgeous and introspective and in many respects exactly the right album for Mae to leave us with.

Currently listening: "Golly Sandra," Eisley

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