Since the first note that I heard many years ago, I was a Make Do and Mend fan. They perfectly meld heavy hitting music, with meaningful lyrics, and hooks that will grab you. Don’t Be Long follows the great style they have been perfecting through the years. I have listened to this album once a day for the last three weeks and I am not sure exactly what to tell you about it. It is a solid punk rock record. It is heavy, it is catchy, it is accessible, it has substance.
Like everyone else, I get in moods for different music. Some days are reserved for the classic rock I grew up on, some days are for grunge/alt rock that made me the weird kid in middle school, and some days are for punk. The first days of summer are always overtaken by Screeching Weasel, NOFX, and ALL. But no matter what mood I am in, some gruff punk with a hook will get me every time. And Don’t Be Long was one of those records.
It starts off with the title track, Don’t Be Long, that sets the stage for the album, it is gruff, slow paced, hardcore punk track, with great moments of melody and great moments of unrestrained passion. The simple line, “Every time I see you, I still hear my favorite song” pulled me into this song so much deeper. I identified with that sentiment completely, from boyfriends, to best friends, to first dates, to break ups, I instantly accessed all those songs and all those emotions and put that into my backstory while listening to this track.
Ever Since, is the catchiest track on the album. It is almost rock and roll, until it reaches is break down. It will have the entire pit singing, the opening lines “Measure the moments /by the almost and the came close/ by the ‘what the fuck’s and ‘I don’t know’s” drawing on their own experiences and with the conviction as if those words were written just for them. The track progresses sonically and lyrically until we reach the conclusion, “I guess we had it to lose/ but that just makes it harder now that it’s through/ you chose the other side of a mountain that I can’t move”.
Bluff is a call to arms and a calling out of punk bands. It is aggressive, with raw strained vocals, putting bands and scene kids on the spot, “play me a song from the legion halls / back of the van, and truck stop walls / show me you’ve got something to say”. Old Circles will have you singing along and Each of Us is a hardcore breakup song, “Was it the ‘I love you’s, and the ‘I’ll be home soons / or the ‘Baby please don’t wait up’s / that start to sound like rain drops / a skipping record, a ticking clock”.
I Don’t Wonder At All is an acoustic track that somehow does not sound out of place at all. Sanctimony has a cool a capella opening that builds into a rock and roll song full of fury and urgency before in devolves into a chanting section. Begging for the Sun To Go Down is the final song on the album, it is slow, deep, and brooding, it is the perfect punctuation to this album.
Don’t Be Long is an album that takes you on a journey, it ebbs and flows as it progresses. The raw vocals draw you in and the hints of melody carry you along. And if, I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, lyrics matter. Yes, a song can be great with nonsense lyrics, but those song that I really love, the ones that changed my life, are the ones with lyrics that I was able to connect with, lyrics that were crafted, lyrics that mean something. Don’t Be Long is full of those lyrics.