Review: Make Do & Mend, ‘Don’t Be Long’
As the members of Make Do and Mend have grown, their sound has evolved. A true sense of change was noted on their last full-length effort, ‘Everything You Ever Loved.’ This was when the band began to shed post-hardcore sound that had seen them become part of “The Wave” alongside the likes of Pianos Become The Teeth and Touche Amore. Instead, they chose to focus on their songwriting and see what direction that took them in. I remember very clearly thinking that their last record was one of the most cut and dry rock albums I’d heard come from Rise Records. For the most part, that album was great, but it definitely had it’s hiccups.
And here we are now. Make Do and Mend has a new full-length album entitled ‘Don’t Be Long’ that was released through their own Rise Records imprint called Stay Close. That straightforward approach to rock music we saw on their last full length is alive and well. This record will make you fully aware of the fact that ‘Everything You Ever Loved’ was a transitional record, because ‘Don’t Be Long’ exists without the missteps of it’s predecessor. These tracks are hard hitting, catchy, and emotionally charged. Three things you could very easily argue to be the trademarks of Make Do and Mend.
‘Don’t Be Long’ comes to a start with its namesake. The track start off with a slow build up to everything crashing around you while you hear James belt out a soul crushing “Maybe we lost our place…” that will leave you pining for what the rest of this track has to offer. The real highlight of this track is the hook. I don’t know that there’s been a more earworm-y rock hook than “Don’t be long, don’t be long, every time I see her, I still hear my favorite song.” This is immediately featured by the track that has the best vocal delivery in a full band song from Make Do and Mend.
“Ever Since” is one of those tracks that you can’t help but love. It’s a mid-tempo track, and everything just clicks. The vocals here are some of the best on the record, and the music is right on par. It’s incredible seeing how comfortable this band has become with this new direction in the span of three years. Another track that really shows this off is the totally radio ready single “Each Of Us.” Give that track a listen and then call your local radio station and demand to hear it.
One point that I need to touch on about ‘Don’t Be Long’ happens around the middle of the record. Even if these songs weren’t as great as they are, I would have to give Make Do and Mend props on the track names. “Sin Miedo” and “Sin Amor” are incredible tracks, and the fact that their names translate to “Fearless” and “Loveless” is incredible. A one-two punch of great songs and a heartbreaking two-word short story. The lyrics in both of these tracks only add to the heartbreak that their names convey, especially on “Loveless” which gives us lines like “and you don’t know when it went out, but there’s no fire in you now.” Jeeze.
There’s one track on the record that I could take or leave. It’s not bad, but I don’t think it’s at the level of the rest of these songs. That song is “Sanctimony.” The lyrics in the beginning sound somewhat confused, however other than this one small slip up, this record is golden. I just don’t know how to feel about it.
Overall, Make Do and Mend have released an incredible rock album with ‘Don’t Be Long.’ Almost all of these songs work together with an incredible sense of cohesion, and make for an incredible listening experience. It’s always interesting to watch a band grow and deviate from the sound that gave them their start, but it’s nice seeing it pan out as well. Make Do and Mend know how to write an incredible song, and have used that to their advantage tenfold on this release (literally). This is a record that will creep under your skin, but you’re going to love the feeling. 4.5/5