Mike Mains & The Branches [Home] | Posted July 27, 2012 Staff Reviewer
From the band’s bio: “Whether a peasant or a king, a ruffian or a vagabond, nothing fills one with the warmth and peace that can be found only when you are home. And while every day is a journey, that journey itself is home. So if you would like some love, some family, or even just a roof to stand under while it rains, come join us. Our dear brothers and sisters, this is Home.” Mike, Shannon, David and Nate are the members of the band Mike Mains & The Branches, and Home is a great collection of alternative rock songs that are completely infectious.
Starting with “Miracle,” I knew I was in for a treat with this delectable album. The mix of tempos is pure perfection and the drum, guitar and bass syncopation is a thing of beauty. The best aspect of this album is the blend of Mike’s, Shannon’s and occasional gang vocals layered over one catchy song after another. There are several songs that I can’t stop playing or get out of my head from this album. After absorbing the incredible melodies, repeated listens have brought some of the lyrical brilliance to the surface, such as in the opening song’s chorus: “It's at the end of myself that I'm made new again” and later in the bridge, “Father of mine, I know I'm not really making You proud, We've all been lonely fruit with filthy branches, Looking down at the ground…Don't you know that your body is a temple?” There is nothing cliché at all about this album and it is loaded with Truth in every song.
“Stereo” has some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard: “I’ve got a crucifix above my bed. So I forget not to pray when I go to bed, but that can’t save me. No it can’t save me. It’s not the wood that saves. It’s the Man who came and wore it. It’s not the Cross that saves. It’s the Man who came and wore it, and he wore it well. He wore it well.” “Beneath Water” has Mike crying out, “Hold me underneath the water, until the old me dies and slips out of this body and make me new again.” “Emma Ruth” begins with these lyrics: “Dear Emma in heaven, God shines his light on you. And now you sleep with the angels and the saints around the throne. And I can't bring you back, but I will live to go to you.” Another highlight is the closing track “Matches,” where Mike passionately belts out the compelling lyrics: “It’s only when you die to yourself that you’re made new.” Amen to that!
I’ve very quickly added this incredible, practically perfect and completely infectious release to my most played and admired albums of the year. From the opening hooky notes and punk rock tempo of the first songs “Miracle” and “Stereo” to the end of last track “Matches,” this album brings an engaging emotional intensity and is filled with catchy songs. This album is great for fans of emotionally charged alternative rock bands like The Killers, Mae, Deas Vail and Anberlin.