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January Artist of the Month: The Mainland______________________________RSS
"Last Call" EP Review
By Chris Brach
Rock music out of California is generally synonymous with warm weather, fast cars, and a certain "Appetite for Destruction" that only 'The Golden State' can provide. But there is an exception to every rule, and the Mainland are this exception. Based out of Yuba City, The Mainland released their debut EP "Last Call" in 2009 and while success has begun to follow them, they don't necessarily fit the California mold.
Founding Members Josh Brooks (Lead Vocals, Piano, Guitar), Derek Wenz (Lead Guitar), and Kristen Costa (drums) formed the band in 2008, eventually recruiting bassist Dana Packard and acoustic guitarist Jake Abbott. The Mainland started recording their debut EP with marginal expectations for success; however after realizing what they had created after leaving the studio, the band's popularity began to grow in Northern CA. After a successful 2009 that marked the release of their debut EP in March, as well as two awards at the Malibu Music Awards including "Best Rock Band of 2009" and "Artist of the Year", The Mainland are ready to venture outside California to see just how far the music from "Last Call" can go.
From start to finish, the five track EP is mellow, clean, and passionate. The Mainland embody a sound that is reminiscent of a few tracks from John Mayer's "Room for Squares" or a few of Five for Fighting’s early singles. With the harmonies created by the three guitars and the piano, every song is smooth. What would have been an ordinary soft rock guitar sound is taken to another level with the piano. It both ties together and puts the finishing touches on the sound that makes the Mainland unique. Nothing jumps up and surprises you or feels forced musically on "Last Call", but that is what makes this such a great listen, it sounds and feels familiar.
Lyrically the album feels very personal. Most of the songs relate to either a relationship or the longing for one. On the title track when Brooks sings, "I never really knew just what went wrong, I put a sad little melody to this song, for all the times she said she won't forget me" you are immediately put in his shoes, the recipient of the dreaded 'Dear John' letter or conversation. Pleading with his girl to stay but not wanting to hold her back from her dreams, he's forced with the reality that he has to let her go. While it may not be your exact situation, there are few out there that won't relate to these songs. This theme is consistent on "Breaking Down" and the faster paced track "I Can Change".
One song that is not on the EP but available on the band's My Space page is "Torn". On this track they turn Kristen Costa loose on the drums which results in a considerably faster, more driving beat and song. As Brooks agonizes what’s wrong and right while waiting through the storm of indecision, the song storms around you. It is a departure from the pace of the EP (Which may be why it didn't make it on there), but it may be the best song the band has written yet.
For a band that have only been together for a little over a year, the Mainland have racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. Based on the quality of "Last Call" and the newly released single "Torn", they are definitely poised to break out of the California Coast and find their way into The Mainland.
As the Webmaster and Founder of Rocksposure.com, Chris Brach is always looking for new music from up and coming rock bands. You never know, they could be our next Artist of the Month! If there is something you think he should give a listen to, email him at GetRocked@Rocksposure.com
Click to hear a few tracks off of "Last Call" on The Mainland's profile page