Michigan-based Mike Mains & the Branches’ latest record Calm Down, Everything Is Fine comes at an interesting period in time for the three-piece. After landing themselves a national stint opening up for Relient K and Hellogoodbye and gaining the attention of ex-Paramore drummer Zac Farro for their latest record, the band has finally arrived at a point where they’re on stable enough ground to step outside their musical comfort zone. And that’s just what they do on their latest full length Calm Down, Everything Is Fine – a stellar follow-up to 2012’s Home – as well as smart, captivating and often electrifying pop record.
The key to the record’s success is how well the band is able to tap into so many musical styles and tempos. One moment, the band is dabbling in crunchy, radio-ready alt-rock (“Noises,” “Take It All”), and the next they’re stripping it all down in eloquent, Pavement meets Death Cab for Cutie-style jams (“Where Love Dies,” “Slow Down”). The production of Farro and Matt Hoopes (Relient K) help string the material together, hitting just the right tone and demanding variety the record requires with every twist and turn. All in all, Calm Down, Everything is Fine is a refreshing musical experience from start to finish, and one of the biggest surprises of 2014 thus far.
Review by Landon Defever