After seeing Make Do and Mend live in Gainesville, Fla. earlier this month, I was excited to pick up the quartet’s upcoming split 7″ release with The Flatliners. While they may both reside within the confines of punk rock, they are two completely disparate musical entities. However, the two bands’ latest split release shows us that they sound pretty good in close quarters.
The split is comprised of four songs, with each band contributing two tracks.
Make Do and Mend kick off the split in full force. Album opener “Don’t” recalls the unbridled fury and rhythmic precision of punk rock heroes Hot Water Music. Singer and guitarist James Carroll’s impassioned, gravel-coated vocal delivery is both engaging and cathartic.
The band loosen up on the more subdued second track “Tell Me.” Infectious choruses and melodious guitar lines from lead guitarist Mike O’Toole demand multiple listens. While this song shows a less aggressive facet of the band, it serves to temper the otherwise driving pace of the split. This aesthetic is somewhat indicative of their matured sound on 2012’s Everything You Ever Loved.
On the second half of the split, The Flatliners burst out of the gate with “Calutron Girls.” This song shows the band at their best: visceral, fun and anthemic. Frenetic guitar solos and sing-along-ready choruses have them bringing their A-game. Singer and guitarist Chris Cresswell’s gritty, yet melodic vocals bounce off of a driving onslaught, crashing cymbals and distorted guitars. The result is nothing short of spectacular.
The Flatliners close the split with “Daggers,” a song worthy of an album closer. This track recalls the soaring melodies of classic punk bands like The Bouncing Souls as reverberating backing vocals and pulsating guitar leads coalesce into a fitting end for the record.
Fans of Make Do and Mend and The Flatliners will enjoy this split as it shows off the best parts of both bands: the former’s balance between thundering aggression and subdued melancholy and the latter’s knack for infectious punk melodies. As a fan of both acts, I would definitely love to see them collaborate on future releases. As far as splits go, this is definitely an awesome pairing between two great bands.