After three years, The Maccabees have broken their post-Mecury Prize nominated Given To The Wild silence with latest Marks To Prove It, released yesterday on Fiction Records. The eleven track release has been working up a small storm of anticipation for itself since the release of the title track on May 11th and subsequent follow-up Something Like Happiness. “These new songs are a reminder of why we started the band,” says Hugo White. “With the enthusiasm to play music that’s exciting and makes us excited.”
It’s the acclaimed title track that takes the spot of opening the release, as instrumental gives way to tentative vocals that in turn swell into a surprisingly addictive chorus. The undertones and layers of sound are important to note, as though they only add depth in the album’s commencement, they become vital as it develops – also mark moments in the intriguing backing that sound ripped from a spooky stage of Mario Cart.
Second Kamakura picks up on a similar pattern of understated verses accompanied by powerful choruses, and a cleverly done close is one of the few things that stops the song entirely slipping over your head. Look at the lazy, dreamy sound of Ribbon Road featuring vocals that add a Bombay Bicycle Club slant to the style, seen again in WWI Portraits – there’s a feeling that unless you turn the music up and force yourself to focus on it, you’ll reach closing Dawn Chorus and realise you’ve just spent forty one minutes waiting for something to happen.
Unsurprisingly, as with Mark To Prove It, Something Like Happiness is an exception to this atmosphere of apathy and withheld energy, with a bright and captivating sound that seems to expand and fill all the gaps the majority of the album leaves. Spit It Out is another to boast some weight, after a minute intro that’s either taunting or infuriating breaks into a cascade of slamming indie rock, constantly begging, “what are we doing now?” with a mania that seems as though Orlando Weeks has been possessed.
When you can find your attention enough to see that it’s not an album entirely of musak, it’s easy to empathise with the level of detail and the open, airy sound the record’s been to heavily praised for – the stark contrast from Spit It Out to Silence is a clear pointer, and River Song‘s undertones are definitely worth a mention. Penultimate two and a half minute snapshot Pioneering Systems is a clear example of how the album deserves attention – among all the atmosphere are laced lines such as, “you had a vision you were cutting your son’s head”.
Though it might be a record which will totally pass you by on the first listen, give it a shot. Marks To Prove It doesn’t possess the usual ratio of radio hits to sentimental ballads and therefore may mean it misses the mark with the thrill seeking indie rock audience, but it’ll pick up attention among those who are will to pay it some in return.
You can watch the video for Marks To Prove It below.