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      ‘Singularity’ (Capitol Records) Dave Elkins – singer/guitar Jacob Marshall – drums Zach Gehring – guitar Mark Padgett – bass Rob Sweitzer - keyboard We’ve all had that moment. Maybe it comes after a long day of work, or during your trying commute home. You turn on the radio and, a... read more

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      (Capitol Records)

      Dave Elkins – singer/guitar
      Jacob Marshall – drums
      Zach Gehring – guitar
      Mark Padgett – bass
      Rob Sweitzer - keyboard

      We’ve all had that moment. Maybe it comes after a long day of work, or during your trying commute home. You
      turn on the radio and, at first, nothing grabs you. But then, a song emerges that can
      make everything stand still. It could be “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins or
      “Where The Streets Have No Name” by U2. But whatever the case, as the music
      kicks in and the guitars lurch forward, you have that moment. The one when the
      hairs on your arm stand at full attention and it feels as if you have no other choice
      but to crank up the volume a bit.
      As longtime music aficionados, the members of the modern rock troop Mae have
      come to know this moment well. “For us, that’s what music is about,” says singerguitarist
      Dave Elkins, who formed the band with drummer Jacob Marshall, and is now
      joined by guitarist Zach Gehring, bassist Mark Padgett and keyboardist Rob Sweitzer.
      “I remember listening to Matthew Sweet on my Walkman as a kid and feeling like I
      was on cloud nine. That’s what we want to do for other people. We want to write
      songs that people connect to.”
      Though it would take some serious arm-twisting in order for them to admit it, for the
      past six years, that’s exactly what Elkins and his band mates have done. In that
      relatively brief amount of time, the Virginia Beach-based five-piece have developed a
      unique and affecting sound that, with albums like 2003’s ‘Destination: Beautiful’ and
      2005’s ‘The Everglow’, has scored them a rather sizeable following around the world.
      That fan base has not only brought the band to sold out shows in the US as well as
      the UK and Japan, but also to arena dates with bands like the Foo Fighters, Weezer
      and, most recently, the Fray.
      Furthermore, that devoted following has helped pushed the combined sales of ‘The
      Everglow’ and ‘Destination: Beautiful’ toward a half-million copies. But it’s with the
      band’s third album, ‘Singularity’, that Mae truly seems destined to create that
      moment. “I really do think this is the best record that Mae has ever written,” Elkins
      says, in a rare moment of unabashed pride. “The five of us understand each other’s
      strengths and weaknesses now more than ever, and over the past couple years, that
      momentum has continued to change and grow our band in really positive ways.”
      Granted, throughout the disc, Elkins and his band mates still churn out the kind of
      soaring ballads that made their first two records such fan favorites. But ‘Singularity’
      is a far more rocking affair, as evidenced by its first single, “Sometimes I Can’t Make
      It Alone,” a brawny blast that recalls some of the seminal alternative groups that the
      members of Mae grew up listening to. “We’ve always loved bands like Pearl Jam, U2
      and the Smashing Pumpkins and on this record we wanted to tap into that,” Marshall
      says. “We weren’t trying to recreate a ’90s record, per se, but we definitely wanted it
      to have that same energy.”
      In order to achieve this, the band headed to Los Angeles, where they hooked up with
      producer Howard Benson, who has previously worked with artists like My Chemical
      Romance and All American Rejects. While Benson gave many of the songs on
      ‘Singularity’ a certain radiant sheen, he also helped the band center in on a much
      livelier sound. “In the past, we’ve never quite captured things the way we wanted to,
      so there was a very concerted effort to do that this time” states Marshall.
      That particular shift can be heard on “Telescopes,” an instantly memorable track that
      features a grungy guitar line that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an early
      Soundgarden album, as well as “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” a revved up punk tune that
      will surely soundtrack a few drives to next summer’s Warped Tour. Yet, where
      Singularity contains some of the most energetic and aggressive music that Mae have
      recorded, it’s also an incredibly thought-provoking album, filled with the kind of
      questions that many ask when trying to seek out their place in the world.
      The title ‘Singularity’, in fact, came out of a rather heavy discussion that the
      members of the band had one night while out on tour. “There was a physiology book
      that Rob and I were reading,” Marshall recalls, “and in it, the author used the term
      ‘singularity.’ That was the first time I ever heard it, but he described it very
      eloquently as ‘the point where the laws we use break down into a singular thing.’ We
      realized that ‘singularity’ was the boundary between what’s real and what’s not, and
      that idea inspired us to begin questioning everything.”
      Indeed, throughout ‘Singularity’, the members of Mae may get into some rather
      heady material, but more than anything, this is an album that aims to connect with
      its listeners and maybe even encourage them to crank up the volume just a bit.
      “That’s all we were looking to do with this band,” Elkins says in closing. “We’re not
      worried about being considered an ‘emo band’ or an ‘indie band.’ We’re just a rock
      band, and we’re happy to be given the chance to get our music out there to all of
      these different people.”

      Categories: Music | Alternative | Rock

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