The debut disc from Ted Stevens' Mayday features a bevy of special guests and unique stylistic decisions, but when all is said and done, the record is a logical progression from Stevens' past work in Lullaby for the Working Class. Since disbanding his beautifully dreary chamber pop collective, the singer and guitarist went on to garner a strong reputation for his part in Omaha's hard-rocking Cursive, but this collection of tunes culled from years of writing and waiting proves that Stevens' mellow side still has just as strong a voice. Featuring most of his former LFTWC bandmates, as well as Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst and the lovely voices of Azure Ray, Old Blood seamlessly weaves together folk storytelling, orchestral dreaminess, laid-back rock, and chants that could earn their place on a pirate ship. The multi-voiced "Captain" is certainly one of the best songs he's ever written, and while there are some unexpectedly strange moments on the disc (a bossa nova anyone?), the overall feel is ripe with strong songwriting and a willingness to take chances. The record may be slightly more rock-oriented than the later works of his past band, but it is still a melodically enchanting ride that allows the "quiet" member of Cursive to once again step into the spotlight and remind everyone just what he is capable of.
Old Blood Review
by Peter J. D'Angelo