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Mainland Break’s “One Way Ticket to Midnight” 

Ominously cutting into the silence in “The Ranger” or grinding out an ironic dirge in “Talking in the Cinema,” Mainland Break’s One Way Ticket to Midnight presents listeners with such a fetching and addictive tracklist that temptations to play it from start to finish are often too strong to be resisted. There’s rich unevenness to the construction of brooding indie rock tunes like “Portland” and the progressive “Memory Fades,” but it’s as captivating a find as the steadiness of the title cut or the rustic “Replacements” is.  

URL: https://mainlandbreak.com/  

Whether they’re juggling oddities with subtle pop influences (“Calling After”) or just reinventing songcraft for a Generation Z eager to have their rock poets to worship (“All Night”), Mainland Break sounds like a group with an unmistakable trademark sound in this LP, and it’s one that I doubt any credible music critic is going to dismiss this summer.

Theirs is a one-of-a-kind look if you’re ever going to see one in 2023, but it comes to us not as fiercely anti-establishment as it is committed to telling the tales of these musicians and no one else.    The strings are the most dominant component of charisma in One Way Ticket to Midnight, and in “Split Time” or “Lucky Miles,” they set up an emotional foundation that no linguistics ever could have on their own. When words can’t do a narrative justice, this isn’t the sort of band that will turn to the typical ribbonry a lot of their peers might, but instead the tempered ferocity of the instrumentation as it stands without the lens of expensive producing to get in the way.

There are pop elements to the songwriting style Mainland Break employ that I would love for them to explore just a little more than they already have, as it could bring some of the more menacing attributes to the build on “One Way Ticket to Midnight” out of the woodwork where we can appreciate what they can do. This group’s riveting use of poetic contrast in One Way Ticket to Midnight had my heart from the very first time I listened to the entire tracklist forward, but if coupled with some sharpening of the other areas in their sound, this act could become downright unstoppable. 

I only just found out about Mainland Break the other day, having never listened to their previous work only a couple of times and nonetheless enjoying what I came across, but having now been made aware of their stellar talents, I’m shocked they haven’t already attracted mainstream hype. One Way Ticket to Midnight will admittedly dissuade the bubblegum pop crowd from taking much interest in the band, but for those of us who put a lot of stock in organic songwriting and experimental themes that aren’t just, well, a theme, what Mainland Break are developing in the studio could be one of the most spellbinding treats around in 2023.  

I do not recommend taking my word on this alone, however – if you haven’t already heard One Way Ticket to Midnight for yourself, its ten songs make for one of the more inspired soundtracks to any summer day. 

Mindy McCall  



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