When We Were In Love by Mike Mains and the Branches
By Julia Tomlinson
Based out of Texas and eventually Michigan, indie rock band Mike Mains & The Branches has been releasing music since 2010. Known best for their energetic live performances, Mike Mains & The Branches is a powerhouse of a band both in sound and lyrics. Their newest release titled “When We Were in Love” is their third album, following their first release in 2012 titled “Home” and second release “Calm Down, Everything Is Fine”. “When We Were In Love” is centered around the conflicts band members Shannon and Mike Mains faced during their marriage as they tried to repair their relationship.
There are eleven tracks on the album, all ranging from upbeat, high-energy songs about falling in love, to melancholy melodies about forgiveness and overcoming hardships in the relationship. The best part of this album is the sentimental power the lyrics contain. The first four tracks, particularly “Live Forever” eloquently capture the honeymoon stage of the relationship, especially through the lines ‘Took me through the pages of your history / Now you’re only book I’ll ever want to read / Still I hope there’s some room in the story for me / Are we there yet, are we there yet’. Mike’s eagerness to be apart of Shannon’s life, which is a common theme in the album, quickly shifts into uncertainty and grief as Mike deals with being accountable for his transgressions. “Breathing Underwater” is one of the heavier songs on the album that expressively juggles the responsibility of accountability and the hope of reconciliation, ‘In the morning of the coffee / Threw my heart on the table / Told you what I’ve done in the dark / You felt far away’. The lines I find particularly powerful in this song are ‘Take me deep into your river / Sugar let me soak until I’m clean / Send my dirty walls on fire’, as Mike searches for Shannon’s forgiveness. The final track on the album “Swamp” is one of my personal favorites, and a very profound concluding song. Reminiscing over their relationship, Mike’s voice through the song perfectly captures the gut-wrenching feeling of no longer being with someone you haven't stopped loving. ‘Everyday feels like waking up at the bottom / Everyday feels like waking up in a swamp / Everyday feels like waking up at the bottom’ portrays the very real overwhelming feeling of heartbreak and the numbness that follow it that almost anyone can relate to.
If you like lyrics charged with raw emotion that relay a pain filled story of heartbreak, while wrestling with tricky subject matters such as accountability and redemption, this is the perfect album for you or any indie rock fan. Check out Mike Mains and the Branches latest album “When We Were In Love” here and take a look at their website here too!