Growing up one of the punk bands I was a pretty big fan of was Hot Water Music for numerous reasons. First and foremost, they did not sound like anybody else that was big in punk music. Also, they had good arrangements in their songs. Fast forward several years later when the band went on a hiatus in 2006, I was pretty bummed to say the least. However, in about mid 2009 a band graced my ears that reminded me of that same feeling. That band was Make Do and Mend. They are a up and coming punk band that takes elements of indie, punk, hardcore and alternative to mold their mostly punk sound. Self-releasing an EP, called Bodies of Water, that was later picked up by Panic Records I was instantly hooked. Hearing this song below is what I love in punk music. That being raw passion and aggression, good arrangements and surprisingly catchy hooks. Here is that song, called Winter Wonderland:
So how does a band follow up such a powerful D.I.Y. release? They keep their foot on the gas pedal and put out a great full length that is an expansion and perfection of their current sound. The album starts off with a handful of blistering gems. “Uknowingly Strong” and “Oak Square Park” are up-tempo tracks that open the album beautifully in such a destructive manner. “Ghostal” is one of my favorite tracks and is a bit slower in tempo, but just as powerful in its chorus. This song is an example of being surprisingly catchy. The guitars suck you in and the guest vocals from La Dispute’s Jordan Dreyers adds a nice element/layer to the chorus with James Carroll’s unique delivery. “Transparent Seas” is another example of catchy hook with the guitars in the chorus. To me, Make Do and Mend’s drummer Matt shines in the verses with his slow, pounding beats.
A short breather track in “For a Dreamer” acts as a quasi intermission track even though it does pick up towards the end. “Stand Stagger” and “Keep This” pick up right where the first four tracks left off with the continued intensity. “Thanks” starts off as slow number with its introspective lyrics. This is one of those tracks that as a fan of music you like to hear musicians write because it is honest and from the heart. It may be tough for some, though because it is kind of a question of what’s the point of touring and being away from loved ones. However, at the end of the day being in a band is what they love. Not enough bands openly question why they live this lifestyle.
“Firewater” is perhaps my favorite track on the record and is the second to last song. It is a heavy hitter indeed. The song features some female guest vocal spots as well some awesome arrangements in the middle of the track with orchestration from stringed instruments. The strings continue with the band to make for a nice finish. This may have been the track to close with; however, “Night’s the Only Time” is also a good closer. It is also a strong song that starts a bit slow, but builds up in the chorus and does a nice job to close the album out. Again, this song has very catchy guitar parts and makes for good lasting value.
The best description of this album I can think to give is to picture yourself at a small club for a for punk show. Then imagine a band plays a blistering 10 song set in about 33 minutes with little let up. You have several fans up close grabbing mics yelling the words to every song. You also have those moshing to every song not far behind. Everybody is sweating and having a great time. However, due to the energy, passion and aggression you leave the show drained and tired. That is what End Measured Mile is to me. I don’t know if that is the angle they were going for or not, but that is what the results are. Yes, listening to this album will leave you gasping for air, but that is what the best punk and hardcore records are supposed to do. Capturing that live feeling on record is tough, but when executed is an amazing feeling. If you like punk and hardcore, I think this will be right up your alley. It will have a pleasant and familiar feeling to it. If you are an indie and alternative fan, take Jimmy Eat World at their best and rough the vocals up a bit and lower the key to their music adding some crunch and distortion. It may take some time to get used to the vocals, but the music is not that far off. Enjoy!