“Super Enthusiast” by Long Island emo rockers Macseal is the perfect album to walk around Westhampton Lake alone and drink an apple cider to this fall.
Macseal has been together since 2013 and releasing music since 2015’s “Macseal EP.” The band’s 2017 EP “Yeah, No, I Know” was met with praise online and on our college’s airwaves -- I played all five songs on my radio show with WDCE.
“Yeah, No” exhibited Macseal’s math-rock leanings and appreciation for the emo vein. Influenced by Algernon Cadwallader and sounding like a more serious version of Mom Jeans, who were especially popular at the time, the EP was familiar territory but enjoyable nonetheless. Many listeners, myself included, eagerly anticipated the release of Macseal’s first album.
I’ll admit that the release of “Super Enthusiast” on November 8th caught me by surprise. Not to get too personal, but it’s been easy for me to get overwhelmed this semester, and I haven’t been keeping the closest eye on new releases (or, evidently, Macseal’s Twitter account). Once I saw that the album was on Spotify, though, I listened as soon as I could. Crazily enough, it ended up being the perfect album for the point I’m at in my semester.
The album opens with a spiraling “Everyone’s falling back in love / … Good luck keeping your friends / ‘Cause nobody’s falling for ya” on “Lucky for Some.” Contrasted with the first-person lyrics in the song’s only verse, this chorus creates a link with you, the listener; Macseal knows how you’re feeling, and they’re here to sing you through it.
Most of the album is in second person. Even if you don’t fit Macseal’s descriptions, you can’t help starting to see yourself as the subject of the songs, like nudging a square peg toward a round opening.
“Always Hazy” was released as the first single off of the album, but I only realized how effective its lyrics are upon my listening to the full album. The chorus’s plea to “stop for a second and wonder why you tried in the first place” is adaptable to so many circumstances outside of the context of the complicated verses around it. It’s a vibe check that breaks out of the rest of the song and sticks in your head.
The instrumentally refreshing “Upside Down Again” reflects on the discomfort of a moment you don’t want to ruin with words, even if there’s something bubbling under the surface. With “Wait ‘til the song ends / And hold each other close,” the band gives you a moment during the album to speak up if you need to. If nobody’s looking out for you, Macseal will with little things like this.
It’s nice when they think about themselves too, though. “Nothing’s a Sure Thing, Shelly,” opens up with an understandable claim: “I wanna die happy.” They deconstruct this lyric throughout the song, though, pointing out how boring and unoriginal it is to never encounter conflict.
Everyone tells you to be thankful for the cluttered roads you’ve made it to the end of, but Macseal’s appeal on this album feels more personal. Whether or not you can see yourself reflecting “on the steps you graduated from,” like they say, they’re here for anybody and everybody who’s questioned why they had tried so hard to get here.
Still showing some of their mathy colors, Macseal uses fun, easy-to-swallow instrumentation as a vehicle to encourage you to keep doing your thing. If you see me with my Airpods in, grabbing my history readings off of the printer in Boatwright, I’ll probably be listening to “Super Enthusiast” and looking forward to break.
For anyone needing a kick this November, I suggest a listen.
"Music Mondays" is a weekly column run in conjunction with the University of Richmond radio, WDCE.
Contact contributor Gabby Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kiser is the general manager for WDCE.