The Maccabees Marks To Prove It

The Maccabees Marks To Prove It

The Maccabees in my opinion have always been an underrated outfit. When you’ve got groups like Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs pissing around the industry like headless chickens desperately trying to reinvent themselves, it’s nice to see a band come along with a positive correlation rather than a disjointed ‘progression’ in accordance with fashion trends in the popular music field. And with their latest record ‘Marks to Prove It’ the Maccabees again show how fucking good they are, without falling into common traps of mainstream tomfoolery.

The title track ‘Marks to Prove It’ sounds like it could have come straight from their last record, ‘Given to the Wild’. Some people may construe that as a bad thing but when it falls into the same vein of absolute monsters such as ‘Pelican’, ‘Feel To Follow’ and ‘Went Away’ it’s hard to argue a case that you’re not getting your money’s worth. The driving rhythm section, hard edged guitars which slip and slide into singularity and individuality, along with the instantly recognisable vocals of Orlando Weeks in my mind puts it right at the top of Maccabees essentials.

The album definitely starts off with the same tone as ‘Given to the Wild’ but then wanders off into its own little world of more chilled out tunes with massive amounts of space and atmosphere. Track two entitled ‘Kamakura’ sounds universe bending. Travelling at the speed of light, yet swimming gracefully through the stars (cheesy I know but that’s what this band does to me!) it fails to disappoint. The combination of Week’s vocals and the guitars from brothers Hugo and Felix White make for an extremely enjoyable and no doubt beautiful listen.

Tracks like ‘Ribbon Road’, ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘Silence’ continue in this semi-relaxed mood with what seems to be a sort of tormented soul like twist. The piano in particular on ‘Spit It Out’ reminds me so much of something Radiohead would construct. It sounds like it could have easily been plucked from the 2001 album ‘Amnesiac’.

‘Slow Sun’ for me is probably one of the best tracks on the album. A bittersweet composition which highlights Week’s effortlessness when it comes to delivering heartfelt lyrics. The repetitive stroking of the words “its Real Love, its Real Love”, echoed by the distant and unknown female voice sends serious shivers down my spine. Its saddish lyrical content is hidden well by its pretty exterior, another theme this album seems to revel in; hiding behind apparent beauty but really suffering amidst horrid disrepair inside.

The Maccabees

The Maccabees

‘Something Like Happiness’ is the most commercial sounding song on the album, and it’s no surprise considering its one of the lead singles. Even though it’s a great track, the shine is taken away slightly because for me the songs surrounding this one have much more soul and power. For example, ‘WW1 Portraits’ is right up my street when it comes to Maccabees. A kooky title, the slow build up and passionate explosive breakout guitars with simple yet effective drumming, just fits the bands style better.

Something about the gang vocal on ‘Something like Happiness’ makes me think of bands like the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, who seem to have garnered global success simply by shouting words like “HEY” and “HO” over and over again. Arcade Fire do that shit, but they can get away with it coz they’re boss!

What really impresses me about this record is that despite the pressures of having a mercury music prize nomination, it doesn’t fail to deliver the same epic sounds and storytelling qualities which they have honestly possessed since day one. You see it so often with critically acclaimed bands with albums of mercury prize standard. Klaxon’s ‘Surfing the Void’ falls flat on its arse in comparison with their previous winning album ‘Myths Of The Near Future’, failing to reach the watermark they had previously set themselves and unfortunately stunting the growth of their career. So with that in mind, it’s such a relief that the Maccabees have returned with an album which could arguably be better than the last! I certainly wouldn’t rule out another nomination that’s for sure.

This album starts with a bang and ends in calm reflection. That doesn’t mean it’s boring or constructed in a less enticing way, it just means the Maccabees have took the time to write songs which they wanted to write and perform. Not just shit out another version of ‘Given to the Wild’ and aimlessly go on tour with songs that sound exactly the same both sonically and mechanically. Fuck all that shit.

Release Date 28/07/2015 (Fiction Records)

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC