Mayday Parade was kind enough to offer a teaser to their fans who are patiently waiting for a new full-length album. The Valdosta EP (Fearless/Atlantic Records) features two brand new tracks as well as four “re-imagined” tracks from the Florida band’s previous albums. Five of the six tracks featured on the album are all stripped down and acoustic letting the lyrics and often “emo” tendencies of Mayday Parade take over.
The EP kicks off with brand new track “Amber Lynn.” Vocalist Derek Sanders aptly sings this sweet ballad and the acoustic guitars offered by Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts lend a hint of a country edge. After the band’s prior release, the overwhelmingly poppy Anywhere But Here, this opening song makes it clear that the band is striving to return to their roots. This shouldn’t disappoint fans, many of which have been feeling a slight void since the departure of vocalist and lyricist Jason Lancaster.
“Jamie All Over,” which first appeared on A Lesson In Romantics has long been a fan favorite. Drummer Jake Bundrick offers a more than suitable replacement for Lancaster’s absent voice. However the acoustic version seems to be lacking something present on the almost anthemic original version. This song is followed by the band’s pop single “Kids In Love” from their previous album Anywhere But Here. Considering how perfect a pop song this already was it’s not surprising it’s just as enjoyable when taken down to its slower yet pure, acoustic form.
The band went back two albums to Tales Told By Dead Friends for the next reworked track “Your Song.” The rock track was already emotional and powerful before the choice to add piano and beautifully layered vocals. Fans will definitely appreciate this new look into an old favorite. The final song the band chose to redo is “Bruised and Scarred” which is another song from Mayday Parade’s most recent full-length album Anywhere But Here. The original version is an upbeat and poppy 80’s inspired track. The new version adds a very unexpected violin yet still manages to keep the original dramatics of the song intact.
The EP comes to a strong conclusion with its second new track “Terrible Things.” The band clearly knows something about saving the best for last as Sanders voice starts a heart-breaking emotional tale backed only by a piano. The last minute of the almost four minute song brings the full band together for the only time on the album bringing the song and entire Valdosta EP to a goose bump evoking conclusion.
Valdosta EP is just a small taste of what Mayday Parade has in store while finishing up the writing process for their follow up to 2009’s Anywhere But Here. Overall it shows immense growth from the Florida band and indicates great things for their next album. The band is scheduled to perform at the Bamboozle Festival in East Rutherford, NJ on April 29. Valdosta EP will hit the stores on March 8.