Well, I don’t have much experience with the Mavericks prior to this album, but it’s made me go back and look through their extensive catalog, and I’ve found a lot to enjoy. I add this here because Brianna, who has had much more experience with the group, said that this album didn’t really live up to their last two. She couldn’t find much originality in it, and that seems to be sort of a consensus, even if her overall opinion isn’t; it seems the Mavericks didn’t really do anything groundbreaking despite the album title Brand New Day, but from where I’m sitting, that’s certainly not a bad thing, as what they do is pretty great.
The album opens with the infectious “Rolling Along,” a song about rolling on through life despite its worry and hardship. The accordion here caught my attention immediately, and that’s one of the best and most unique features of the whole album. You’ll find plenty of accordion and other great instrumentation sprinkled throughout. This opener is probably the best one I’ve heard so far in 2017, and it’s good because the next few songs didn’t blow me away like that, but the residual greatness of this one kept me listening. The lively, positive mood continues for the title track and “Easy as it seems,” and these two have grown on me after a couple listens. There’s some vagueness in the lyrics which holds them back a little, but the laidback, fun instrumentation permeating this record still holds my interest. “I Think of You” features some nice horns and sees the narrator thinking of and missing a former lover. It’s more introspection than heartbreak. The low point of the album for me is “Goodnight Waltz,” and it’s unfortunate that it’s the longest track because it just drags on. I just found this one very boring. All in all, the front half of the album is solid, but still nothing has blown me away like “Rolling Along.”
That all changes with “Damned, if You Do.” This one is more rock and features more great horns, saying that when it comes to taking chances on love, “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” This is a definite highlight of the record, and the back half is strong throughout. “I Will be Yours” is a great love song, and the lead singer, Raul Malo, really sells the emotion in this one, trying to convince a woman to take a chance with him. He says if she ever needs someone, he will always be there. “Ride with Me” is another upbeat, energetic track inviting us all to travel to various places across the country with them. It’s the fun, memorable version of Dailey & Vincent’s “America, we Love You.” You’ll find even more horns here, along with some nice guitar. “I Wish You Well” sees the main character lamenting the end of a relationship and hoping she’ll be happy. There’s more accordion here, and again, it’s more reflection than outright sadness. The Mavericks do a great job of keeping that laidback vie going even in more serious moments. The album closes with “For the Ages,” another nice love song that could have been a sequel to “I Will be Yours,” saying their love will last through the ages.
This album reminds me a lot of the Shinyribs record; they are both fun records that get better with time, but whereas Shinyribs was loud and energetic and in your face, this one is laidback and easygoing and works its way in slowly. I have a feeling it’s one of the eights that will keep growing on me throughout the year. Some records don’t have the staying power that this one will have with me, and indeed has already been having. The instrumentation is just excellent, and their sound is quite unique. There are some outstanding tracks like ‘Rolling Along” and “Damned, if You Do.” The back half does hold up better than the front half, but overall, it’s a really nice listen and definitely a fun record. You should absolutely check out this album–and get to know the Mavericks as well.