Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Maccabees // Marks To Prove It - Review

The new Maccabees album is finally here after what seems like a long wait after their near masterpiece that was Given To The Wild in 2012. I never personally liked The Maccabees at all before their last effort, and just about managed to watch them for forty odd minutes at Latitude after their second album came out, bemused as to why they were on the main stage. Their music seemed generic, landfill indie – and to top it off, someone needed to tell lead singer Orlando where the toilet was, as he danced on the spot rhythmically.

The lead single, and title track of their fourth album, Marks To Prove it is quite weighty and industrial. The slow, building and soaring guitar melodies of Given To The Wild are not present, and only the tendency for a change in pace is present after the chorus. Disappointingly for me, the theme running through the album is quite sombre and melancholy compared to their earlier music which was filled with enthusiasm. It sounds like they are having a mid-life crisis early.

They can't even look in the same direction together, bless

‘Spit It Out’ could easily be the guitar from a Graham Coxon-led Blur song, and the lyrics “old enough to know better, dressed for the weather” from ‘Slow Sun’ reveal their inner mental age. No-one who knows how to have fun cares about dressing for the weather, and I am living proof of it. The lyrical theme throughout the album is pretty consistently depressing, telling people it will “get easier”. ‘Something Like Happiness’ is almost a statement to defy the possibility that they could be happy – no, do not be mistaken for one moment. The album does have some great musical moments, but these are mostly led by piano rather than soaring vocals or thudding - or quiet - guitar.

The one change came with a track led by an electronic drum beat (scratch that, that’s a Spotify advert) that starts with a saxophone that sounds wavering, and frankly out of key and dreadful. Perhaps a summary of the album – wavering indie rock filled with uncertain, lugubrious motifs.


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