Much like Seahaven did last year with their acoustic sessions for Ghost and Transit did early this year with Something Left Behind, Make Do and Mend has reinvented some of its previous songs on its final release for Paper + Plastick Records, an EP titled Part and Parcel. The EP contains three reworked songs from last year’s full-length End Measured Mile, as well as a cover and two new tracks. The band does itself a favor by not simply slowing down the songs and adding acoustics to the mix, but managing to rework some of the songs completely, especially the cover of Touché Amoré’s “Home Away From Here.”
This release is Make Do and Mend at their most original and, consequently, at their best. While the electric version of “Unknowingly Strong” is heavy and fast melodic-hardcore at its best, the acoustic version found here is much more delicate, stripping many riffs from the original in favor of sporadic singer-songwriter acoustic strums and soft piano riffs. The impassioned vocals from James Carroll also cut through the mix at a much higher level than that of the original recording, allowing his sentiment to reach the listeners much more easily. When he sings “Believe me when I say / that there will always be cold days. But the grass is only greener here / if you plant it that way,” it benefits from a much stronger delivery. On “Ghostal,” the clean, folk-inspired delivery in the chorus is much improved from the abrasive shouts in the original. This isn’t to bash the originals; it just speaks miles about the talent and range that the band possesses. The only downside is that the track is missing the cameo from La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyer, which the original contained. “Transparent Seas” is the strongest of the reworked tracks, with the repeating riff sounding better on keys than distorted guitar, and Carroll’s vocals shining.
Of the three tracks not previously recorded on End Measured Mile, “Coats,” one of the new tracks, is the strongest. The band proves that they can retain the energy and speed from their electric tracks in an acoustic format. The track is as much of a head-banger as MDAM’s electric tracks are, with rapid strums from the acoustics of Carroll and guitarist Mike O’Toole, as well as the drumming of Matt Carroll, driving the song at an accelerated rate. Fans of MDAM and Touché Amoré will both appreciate the cover of “Home Away From Here,” as Carroll doesn’t try to replicate the delivery of Touché’s singer Jeremy Bolm, instead offering a fragile delivery during the intro and verse, accompanied only by one acoustic guitar. When the intensity picks up as the song nears its end, you can’t help but appreciate the range that Make Do and Mend display, completely reworking a song from a similar band.
Make Do and Mend has done itself a huge favor releasing Part and Parcel as a bridge between last year’s End Measured Mile and next year’s untitled Rise Records debut. While the debut will surely see the band return to its hardcore roots, the artistic talent that it displays on Part and Parcel is sure to excite fans for the future.