Released recently, Mainland Breaks’ debut album, One Way Ticket to Midnight, brings to mind the driving energy of The Feelies while evoking the jangly guitars of R.E.M.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Mainland Break comprises Evan Oliver, Kevin Kohl, Travis Rice, Ian Gassman, and Steven Hennig. The band dropped their debut EP, Short Stay, in 2019, followed a few months later by “Gun Without Hire.”

Built around the progression of a single night, the album escorts listeners through memories of remote friendships, lost love, and missed opportunities. Beginning at sunset, the album travels toward sunrise but never gets there, leaving listeners isolated amid vanishing recollections.

Of the album’s 10 tracks, entry points include opener “Calling After,” a song about the thrill of summer love that brims with chiming guitars atop a vibrant, pushing rhythm and vocals exuding the contagion of Bryan Adams-like tones.

A personal favorite, because of its delicious vocal harmonies, “Portland” blends elements of indie-rock with gleaming, shimmering pop colors, resulting in an upbeat, feel-good tune. Conjuring up suggestions of R.E.M., “The Ranger” rolls out on amiable guitars, dripping glittering hues layered into glossy textures of polished pigments, especially on the outro.

The intro to the title track features a thrumming bassline and crunching percussion and then adds glinting guitars flowing into a compelling rhythm pulsing with intoxicating motion. This song is great for driving along the Pacific Coast Highway on a warm summer night, windows down.

Mainland Break, photo courtesy of Mainland Break
Mainland Break, photo courtesy of Mainland Break

There’s a cutting edge to the guitars on “All Night,” giving the song tension and urgency. Whereas the final track, “Memory Fades,” pumps out strident, almost harsh surfaces of lustrous guitars as if attempting to grab hold of reminiscences that keep slipping away.

Pervaded by elusive familiarity, the songs on One Way Ticket to Midnight reflect a sonic scintillance difficult not to succumb to.

One Way Ticket to Midnight Track Listing:

1. Calling After
2. Portland
3. Split Time
4. Talking in the Cinema
5. The Ranger
6. One Way Ticket to Midnight
7. Replacements
8. All Night
9. Lucky Miles
10. Memory Fades

Run Time: 32:58
Released Date: July 21, 2023
Record Label: Independent