If an album can be a statement, then the newest release from The Maine is a loud statement of the fact that they are no longer the boys dressed in neon from the Can't Stop, Won't Stop days. Those days are long gone and while they got the now young men where they are now, they aren't going back any time soon.
To call the albume a "deviation" from their previous sound seems like a weak explanation, but it is nothing short. There was a deviation from the poppy sound of Can't Stop, Won't Stop with Black and White as that album had more of a folk feel, soft songs without a kicked up drum beat and deeper lyrics.
Pioneer goes down a completely different road, as the name implies. Gone are the cute lyrics about growing up and girls breaking their hearts. The new songs are harder, backed with a stronger base line and guitar riffs that prove that the guys aren't just pretty, but talented as well.
Some of the same sound is still there. John still croons his way through "I'm Sorry" which sounds very reminiscent of the B&W album songs, but if I remember correctly he was performing this one acousticly long before they went into the studio to work on this album. "Some Days" has the same feel, but the chorus isn't fooling around and is a lead into what to expect for the rest of the album. It's a shame it's not the first song, though it does fit well where it comes up and I fell in love with "Identify" after the first few beats.
That's where the similarities end, though don't take that as it being a bad album. As a whole the album is great and even with only a couple listen throughs, I like most of the songs. It's just not what I envisioned the third album from this group would be like. LIke aspects of Black and White it's a testament to where they are in their lives. "Don't Give Up On 'Us'" toes line, just as "Listen to Your Heart" on Black and White did, toes the line of not as much being about a girl, but about the band themselves.
That's really the mesasge to the fans of this self-produced album. Dont' give up on The Maine.
Follow The Maine on twitter and pick up Pioneer on iTunes.