REVIEW: Mayday Parade – Valdosta EP


Artist: Mayday Parade
Album: Valdosta EP
Genre: Pop rock/acoustic
Label: Universal

From the top of this review let me state how ironic I find it that Mayday Parade plan a release (a nearly completely unnecessary one I might add) around the same time Go Radio, which is fronted by former guitarist/vocalist Jason Lancaster, drop their debut album. Maybe the numbers on their most recent album woke them up to the fact what made them worthy of discussion in the first place was no longer a component to their sound. Regardless, armed with two new songs, five favorites, a piano, and some acoustic guitars, Mayday Parade are just under two weeks from releasing their new EP, Valdosta.

When I first heard about this release, I was instantly excited. My first experience with Mayday Parade was their contribution to Punk Goes Acoustic 2 and I’ve longed ever since to see them return to the stripped down form. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy their full band releases (A Lesson In Romantics is still on my iPhone as I type this), but the emotive nature of vocals worked too well unplugged to not be explored further. Since this release is finally a reality, I’ll take it I’m not alone in thinking such things.

“Amber Lynn,” the first of two new songs on Valdosta, starts the record on a near country/folk foot with slide guitar and lyrics about heartbreak. I know, I know, not exactly new grounds for the group, but there’s a hook here few will be able to deny. From here, the album moves from new to old with a series of five fan favorites reworked for a more subtle approach. Now, while I could take time to dissect their re-imaginings, the ultimate answer on whether or not you’ll enjoy them depends almost entirely on how much you liked them as full band pieces. Nothing here stretches too far from conventional and I highly doubt anyone that disliked “Kids In Love” before will be swooned by a slower, maybe even longer rendition. Also, the lack of Lancaster on tracks from Romantics is constantly apparent and always distracting. I will say though, the albums additional new song, “Terrible Things,” is breathtaking. Not straying too far from the beaten path, Mayday let a piano lead this heartbreak filled tale of life and love. Some may call it cheesy, but if that’s the case, so is everything else this band has done.

As I mentioned earlier, the majority of your decision to love or hate this record will depend highly on your taste for Mayday Parade. While the new songs do show great promise for future records, five of these tracks have appeared before and making them more relaxed does little to change their overall impact. However, if you’re simply a fan of acoustic songs in general then this release will definitely appeal to you as Mayday is a band that translates well in the unplugged format. Just don’t go into this record expecting to be changed, moved, or to discover your new favorite band. It is what is and what it is and nothing more.

Score: 7/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • I would have to say I totally agree with this review. Terrible Things has quickly risen to the top of my favorite MP songs and I will be listening to A Lesson In Romantics for years to come. Of all of the reworked tracks, the only ones that really seem to fit are Kids In Love and Bruised and Scarred due to the absence of Lancaster in Jamie All Over and Your Song. I am a sucker for acoustic tracks and some of their best work is evident in songs like Three Cheers For Five Years (acoustic), Miserable At Best and I Swear This Time I Mean It. I absolutely love this band and everything they have put out to date and I think they have a bright future ahead of them. It’s a shame that Lancaster left, although Go Radio is a great band as well, but I think MP will live on and continue to write great music.

  • anotherFan

    The lack of Lancaster in Your Song and Jamie All Over actually makes me sad.  Those songs sound so empty now.  It’s incredible how much Lancaster added.  Neither Go Radio nor present day Mayday Parade seem to be able to come close to A Lesson in Romantics.