Maycomb, a four-piece pop-punk outfit from Wolves, try to make waves with what is surprisingly only their debut album: ‘I Opened My Heart to Caustic Things’. Rather than 2012 spelling the end of the world, it has produced a stepping stone for these boys, seeing them open tours for the likes of The Wonder Years and Man Overboard; ending on a high note with this release.
The first two tracks ‘New Storms’ and ‘Old Gold’ show how Maycomb have done a lot of growing up since their 2010 EP. As ‘New Storms’ opens the album, there’s a sign of real promise which is held consistently throughout the whole album, even though the holding of a consistent sound throughout the whole album is perhaps more of a hindrance than a help. The majority of the lyrics portray a loathsome picture of the band’s hometown, or concentrate on their desire to take Maycomb from strength to strength; tried and tested pop punk staples. I think it’s fair to say that there isn’t a bad song on this album, but everything blends together too much. The short ‘Out of Darkness Cometh Light’, which is barely over a minute long, does show a softer and more delicate side to the band. However, this minute of acoustic guitar and soft vocals doesn’t do enough to dispel the feeling of sameness running through the album.
Most of the songs consist of pop-punk melodies with some catchy hooks dispersed throughout. There’s a few of the song-making riffs that usually come with a lot of this genre, but the consistent cheery guitars do enough to entice listeners, getting feet tapping and heads nodding. There is some display of vocal range, but for the large part they are quite high register. Not of the A Skylit Drive ilk, but don’t tune in expecting anything gruff.
A highlight of the album is the closing track: ‘Whatever Happens, Happens’. As well as featuring the by now expected upbeat guitars and lively chorus, the track is a throwback to one of their earlier songs, ‘Whatever Happened, Happened’. This finishes off the album on a bright note, with a nice transition of tempo midway through and a deceptive fade out before kicking back to life right at the end.
‘I Opened My Heart to Caustic Things’ is well finished but it isn’t the most complex record and not unlike most of what is already floating around in the pop-punk genre. Maycomb are an example of a band who found a winning formula to song writing that works for them and stuck with it. The lively beat, guitars and energy show that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it may produce some good, even potentially radio friendly singles.
3 out of 5 high fives!