A stint with Failure frontman Ken Andrews turned Mae’s sound from simple pop into beautifully expansive piano-infused rock on 2005’s The Everglow, and the band faced the lofty task of recapturing that disc’s magic on their major-label debut. This time around, the pride of Virginia Beach hooked up with hitmaker Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, the All-American Rejects) to create a powerful rock album hearkening back to ’90s rock favorites Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins combined with a healthy dose of their pop roots. While Singularity may not flow with quite the same seamlessness of The Everglow, tracks like “Sometimes I Can’t Make It Alone” and “Telescopes” have the perfect balance of sensitivity and edge to become enormous hits, and the ballad “Release Me” exceeds the charm of The Everglow’s wealth of slower songs. Once again, Mae have found themselves at the forefront of creativity and completeness in a genre that generally lacks both. (CAPITOL) Kevin Wade

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