Destination: Beautiful

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Destination: Beautiful is an earnest and honest expression from the Virgina five-piece Mae. Honed on classics of the 1980s (the Police, Depeche Mode, U2), Mae's confidence soars throughout the entire 11-song track listing, going for large soundscapes of layered guitars and rolling percussion. They're a bit too brash to be exclusively pop, but not fully downhearted enough to be emo. Mae has crafted an album that's simply enjoyable and enjoyably simple. Simple works. Frontman David Elkins is boyishly charming while being self-deprecating on "Sun" and the edgy "Soundtrack for Our Movie." His bandmates provide a solid backing instrumentation, never giving Destination: Beautiful a chance to calm down. Other standout tracks, such as the sugar-charged "Embers and Envelopes" and the punchy "Runaway," reflect Mae's musical sincerity -- and such a task is difficult when making a first album. Mae is a bunch of humble guys who made something that feels good, with no distractions.

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