Forever Halloween is a more mature and unapologetically darker record than The Maine’s previous efforts. The growth between this and their debut album Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (2008) is nothing short of impressive and yet has not strayed too far from their original sound to upset loyal fans. In their fourth album, the band have found a way to lose that semi-annoying quality which plagued their earlier works, adding a heavier sound with darker and more personal lyrical content (‘Love & Drugs’, ‘Birthday in Los Angeles’, ‘Fucked Up Kids’) while keeping their pop-rock hook.

‘Happy’ (track five) is the first single to be released from Forever Halloween and as far as first impressions go, this one is a pretty good indicator of the rest of the album. It features that classic catchy, bouncy Maine sound paired with some heavy, somewhat gloomy lyrics (“Here is my guide on how to stay alone/Just drink til you’re gone and pass out on the floor”...“ It seems lately/This ain’t a fairytale and I don’t think I’ll ever be happy”) which are fairly consistent throughout Forever Halloween.

The opening track ‘Take What You Can Carry’ is an upbeat showcase of the maturation The Maine offer in this album and is probably the one to stick in your head for days after hearing it. The band’s direction towards a more alternative sound is reflected in John O’Callaghan’s voice right from this first song and throughout the album, most notably in ‘Sad Songs’ (track nine).

‘Love & Drugs’ and ‘Run’ are more fast-paced, infectious tunes which strike the perfect balance between the band’s new, grown up sound with darker lyrical themes, and their more youthful side of the past. ‘Run’ offers a slower, heavier sound in its verses before sparking up that fast, catchy sound in the chorus.

‘White Walls’ is an offering of vulnerability (“Now that boy is a man/I don’t know who I am/I’m just a kid don’t walk away/Please don’t walk away”) against a slower instrumental display which still possesses hints of the pop-rock sound associated with The Maine over their previous three albums.

‘Kennedy Curse’ steps up as one of the album’s highlights. The eighth track is an angsty, well composed number with haunting guitar work and heavy, meaningful lyrics (“Then she kisses my scars/As she cuts out my heart/And she places it right on her sleeve”…“So won't someone just come and take my heart/And tear it apart”) making it one of the more memorable songs on Forever Halloween.

Special mention must go to the second last song on the album and its third single, ‘These Four Words’, in which John O’Callaghan pours his heart out over a beautiful piano arrangement. The four words O’Callaghan is singing about are “I don’t love you”, and if you’re looking for a song to make you feel something, this is the one.

The closing track shares its name with the album title, ‘Forever Halloween’, and is another slow portrayal of the band’s maturation. O’Callaghan’s vocals are tested in the just-over-five-minute-long closer which finishes with a sweet instrumental section after once again showing a deeper side of the quintet in its lyrics (“We’re all monsters/Living in a dream/So you be you/And I’ll still be happy”).

The Maine have more than impressed with their latest album Forever Halloween which has found the perfect balance in showing their growth and maturation over the past five years while keeping that distinct, classic pop-rock sound they are known and loved for.

Album Highlights:

‘Happy’, ‘Kennedy Curse’, ‘Sad Songs’, ‘These Four Words’.

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