Sound — 8
A Singularity is the point in a black hole where the pull of gravity is so great, that everything getting sucked in is compressed to a mass no bigger than an atom. Mae liked that an author used it to describe the ultimate unknowable in science, the interface between the natural and the supernatural. They define their album Singularity as about stepping back to see a bigger picture. It is about struggling to see yourself as an important part of that picture. It's also unintentionally about falling short while trying to create a modern rock record. The guitars have a processed sheen to them, layered and made to sound like a cohesive unit. This is an approach used by bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails to make a six-string sound like a semi hitting you in the head; Mae uses it to sound like someone poking you with a single finger. The punctuated rhythms on Sic Semper Tyrannis give more contrast, and in turn help to bring out the wall of sound in the chorus, but that's one song. Elkins and fellow guitarist Zach Gehring's efforts for the most part aren't enough to fill your headphones, unless you turn them up very loudly and press them into your head. Keyboardist Rob Sweitzer serves to try to add melody to the chord changes the two guitars grind out, but feels unnecessary, as he rarely gets the opportunity to shine solo.
Lyrics — 8
Singer/guitarist Dave Elkin's voice attempts to be melodic and gentle, but comes through the speakers more like a whine. It has to be doubled on choruses to match the rising wall of guitars. On Crazy 8, you can hear him attempting to sing from his gut to get the extra push to fill space when the rest of the band drops out. There's a few different schools to rock lyrics. One is to spell out a story using a specific plot to invoke some kind of memory or feeling in the listener. Another is to use words and phrases that don't really link together, but result in some kind of overall mood. This is the school Mae is a part of.
Overall Impression — 8
Singularity is Mae's third album, which means they get some leeway. This is a recording of a band not completely sure what their sound is. The loud guitars and whining melodies invoke classic artists before them, but something that defines Mae is lost on this album. Listen to this disc if you find it playing somewhere over the radio or at your local mall, but wait until Mae fully comes together to put your money down. This singularity is too disjointed.