Over the course of a career that has thus far spanned almost 10 years, Of Mice and Men have undergone a number of line-up changes, with the roles of band-members constantly shifting; the most recent of these saw Aaron Pauley taking full control of vocal duties. Such changes could easily derail a band’s progress but, Of Mice and Men’s most recent album, Defy, isn’t too shabby. Over the course of 12 songs, the fourpiece do a pretty decent job of showing off their musical range – from uplifting choruses, to heavy bangers, to mellow rock.
Album-opener and title track, ‘Defy’, encapsulates this range perfectly, opening with a catchy palm-muted riff and peaking with an uplifting chorus that will have fans punching their fists with defiance. A similarly anthemic chorus can be found on ‘Unbreakable’; this song about perseverance and self-belief highlights the abilities of Aaron Pauley on vocals at interweaving harsh and clean vocals.
An interesting inclusion to the album is the band’s cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’. Most covers that get included on albums somehow reflect a joint influence shared by the bandmembers, and it is usually clear how the coverees have inspired the coverers. However, in this case, I’m not entirely sure where Pink Floyd fit into Of Mice and Men’s sound. I’m not complaining though – the cover is pretty groovy, and the band definitely bring a new element to with a heavy stomping beat. The classic rock fan in me feels like this could have been a great album closer; alas, the band instead chose the somewhat unremarkable ‘If We Were Ghosts’ which leaves the ending feeling rather abrupt.
Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes / thepanoptic.co.uk