Make Do and Mend seem on the cusp of something big. ever since their new single ‘Lucky’ was dropped as a teaser to the album, they hype machine went into overdrive, and so it’s with high anticipation that we put on ‘Everything We Ever Loved’ for a full spin. The first question to answer is, inevitably, “is it any good?” The answer? “You better fucking believe it is”.
The first three songs on the album do what all first three songs should do – they grab you by the scruff of your neck and force you to sit up a pay attention. Opener ‘Blur’ begins moodily until the Make Do and Mend we all know burst into the forefront, but something is different here… the sound is much more polished but still manages to retain the intensity of the tracks on their previous effort, the production is beefier with the bass line pulsating and kicking the shit out of your senses, and this song sends a clear message – if you’re going to listen to this album, you had better make sure that the volume is turned right the way up.
Next up is ‘Count’, and the thing that is immediately apparent is that this song is born to be played live. It’s seriously energetic, comes complete with a huge chorus and the production makes everything sound great. Finishing off the opening trio is the already heard ‘Disassemble’, a song that might be one of Make Do And Mend’s best yet. Opening with a distinct “western” sounding vibe, it’s not long until the band launch again into what they do best – the song represents a band knowing exactly what they want to sound like and completely nailing it in the process. Nothing sounds confused here and it’s a joy to listen to.
As if the band knew the listener would need a breather at this point, it’s time for ‘St. Anne’ to bring out a different side of the band. A song that has a bit of a Yellowcard-esque vibe, it’s not stripped down per se, but it’s a lot more reserved compared to what Make Do and Mend usually produce and it’s more accessible to a more mainstream crowd. It may not go down TOO well with the general fanbase of the band but it’s a nice listen nonetheless, and as we head into the latter half of the album, ‘Royal’ reminds us just how bruising Make Do and Mend can be. With a chorus that hits you like a tonne of bricks, it’s heavy but not so heavy it will alienate a newer listener, while ‘Drown In It’ is classic Make Do and Mend. Imagine ‘TL’ but made for this newer, fresher sound that they’re employing and you’re there.
As the irrepressible ‘Lucky’ leads into the home stretch of the album, it can be said that your attention won’t wander while listening. ‘Lucky’ is a stark reminder of just how good this band can be and it leads directly into ‘Hide Away’, which is basically more of the same. The chorus is as bruising as can be expected, and the song structure is again clearly defined. However, a special praise for this four song run in goes to ‘Storrow’, a song that is the aural equivalent of a punch in the face every five seconds. James Carroll’s ever impressive vocals come to the forefront here and it sounds as if his voice is being shredded every time he basically screams the chorus. In somes ways, the band should have ended the record there, as though ‘Desert Lily’ is technically great, it doesn’t end the album on the bang that it deserves to go out on.
Overall ‘Everything You Ever Loved’ is representative of a band absolutely brimming with confidence and shows a band living up to the potential offered on ‘End Measured Mile’. They’ve shaken off their Hot Water Music tag with style and released an album that defines them as a band and sets them apart from their contemporaries. Should Make Do and Mend go on to the bigger and better things that they deserve, everything will point back to this album as their own personal gamechanger.