*This review was composed by Zac Lomas and edited by Erik van Rheenen
Stick To Your Guns and The Story So Far. Anti-Flag and Hostage Calm. Title Fight and Touché Amoré. Splits are making a comeback, and I for one welcome their return. The split is as much a part of “punk rock” tradition as the mosh pit, and both Make Do And Mend and The Flatliners do their fair share of upping the proverbial punx on this split release. While pairing up the melody-driven rockers in Make Do And Mend with the chaotic punk revivalists The Flatliners may seem unconventional, this split works, relying heavily on the shared passion and sincerity of both bands.
Make Do And Mend’s half of the split includes the seemingly related tracks “Don’t” and “Tell Me,” which may be some of the most straightforward songs of the band’s career. While both tracks retain the rich complexities so deeply engrained in the band’s sound, they also follow a distinctly pointed and singular trajectory, which makes for an easy listening experience. James Carroll’s vocals on “Don’t” are rougher than any of his previous work, clearly channeling his inner Chuck Ragan in a successful effort to inject pure passion into lyrics like, “When do you admit that you’re done? / Because God only knows what they’ll say about me when the curtains have finally drawn.”
“Tell Me,” on the other hand, leans farther toward the reserved melodic end of the spectrum. More conventional vocals from Carroll, combined with Mike O’Toole’s irresistible hooks make this track feel like the Make Do And Mend listeners have grown to love. “Tell Me” is the go-to track from this split, dominating both sides of the record. One can only hope that it’ll find its way into the band’s live set sometime in the near future.