A vehicle for the songwriting of Lullaby for the Working Class frontman Ted Stevens, Mayday offers a dark and foreboding sea-swept feeling that's appropriate for its name. Actually though, Stevens named the band after an annual concert he puts on in Omaha on May 1.
Stevens gets assistance in Mayday from a diverse cast of local supporting characters, including all his Lullaby mates and members of Azure Ray, Bright Eyes, Cursive, and Now It's Overhead. With all these players, it's no surprise that Mayday's sound is eclectic and ornate. There's lots of the string-based chamber pop that distinguished Lullaby for the Working Class, but here with a cant that will make you think of hooks and wooden legs. In fact, maritime themes abound (see for instance "Captain") in Stevens' weary compositions. The mood is consistently somber, but not dispiriting; on the contrary, Mayday can be as oddly uplifting as an overcast day at sea.
The first Mayday album, Old Blood, released in 2002, represents years of songwriting on Stevens' part. After the album's positive critical reception, Stevens assembled another dense and strange Mayday album, I Know Your Troubles Been Long, released in 2003, this time on Bar/None.
Bushido Karaoke came two years later.