Sound — 7
Mayday Parade first broke into the music scene back in 2007, with the release of their debut studio album titled "A Lesson in Romantics." The group's punk pop-driven sound, which bears some unignorable similarities to other popular mainstream bands, caught the attention of followers of that particular genre of music. Despite being independently released, "A Lesson in Romantics" went to position eight on the Top Heatseekers Charts, and their song "Jamie All Over" went on to be included as part of the "Rock Band" video game series. Mayday Parade continued to have noticeable commercial success with their second studio album, "Anywhere But Here," which spent five weeks on the charts and peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Alternative Charts; however the addition of outside writers during the songwriting sessions took a noticeable toll on the album's overall sound, and was met with mixed reviews from critics. The band's third studio album would surface in two years later, in the form of 2009's self-titled release. This album was met with more positive critical reception; keeping in mind the critiques for their previous outing, the members of Mayday Parade made a conscious effort to not include any outside writers and to only collaborate within the band. Their self-titled effort ended up being Mayday Parade's most successful to date, reaching #12 on the Billboard Top 200 charts. Continuing Mayday Parade's release schedule of one new album every two years, the group marks their return to the 2013 music scene with their fourth studio album. "Monsters in the Closet" is a collection of twelve new compositions, which boast the same elements which popularized Mayday Parade's earlier efforts. In fact, these new songs sound so identical to their earlier efforts that there's almost nothing distinguishing them apart. If you are a dedicated Mayday Parade fan, this probably wouldn't be the end of the world. Such songs as the album's second single "Girls" feature a repetitive guitar riff and singing style, and for a second (or perhaps the entire song) you may think you're listening to a Blink-182 outtake. The closing track "Angels" begins with a quiet acoustic guitar riff, before picking up with high-in-the-mix percussion playing ala Sublime's "Santeria." There's nothing included on "Monsters in the Closet" that one would call necessarily groundbreaking or entirely original, however it doesn't in anyway mean it's unenjoyable. In fact this familiar quality included on each song is at times one of the album's main driving factors.
Lyrics — 6
Mayday Parade lead vocalist Derek Sanders is what some might call a traditional alternative rock lead vocalist. Just like the majority of other mainstream acts which earn substantial radio airplay, Derek doesn't try to necessarily stand out with his vocal performance. Several of the tracks off of the new album, for example the aforementioned "Angels," show Derek stepping back and letting the actual instrumentation take charge. The only problem with this move is when a song's actual musical side is a quiet repetitive guitar riff and just-as-quiet bass playing, it provides an unfortunate lackluster effect to the piece.
Overall Impression — 6
With their fourth studio album, alternative rock band Mayday Parade do not try and be revolutionary, groundbreaking, or unique: even when compared to their earlier efforts. They instead provide a familiar-sounding musical experience, that should easily appeal to any established Mayday Parade or mainstream radio listener.