Arriving at their fourth album, The Maccabees have created something wonderfully grown up and immersive with new record, Marks To Prove It. A million miles away from those sweetly romanticised tones on the popular Toothpaste Kisses, seven years on since its release, not only have the boys grown up, their sound has undeniably developed into a matured version of what they do best.
Having seemingly rediscovered their band dynamics, this release feels a far cry from the previous 2012 record, Given To The Wild. Gone are the experimental layering’s and solo workings that made the last album so different for the band, and in its place are the revisited rose-tinted sounds of their first releases, with an evidently matured musicality. Marks To Prove It feels likes a record that’s been produced by a band that know exactly what works for them, and it works so well.
Essentially a love letter to London, the 11-track record explores the bands relationships with the city, a bittersweet exploration of their surroundings and visualising the beatuy in the mundane. The title track opens the record with determined unpredictability, guitars overlapping disjointed keys and energetic drumming before frontman Orlando Weeks marries the group with his trademark velvety tones. “No one was crying/ They simply got a little something in their eye” – a somewhat misleading introduction to the rest of the record, with possibly the singular most energetic track to what follows. The rest of the record only idly flirts with crescendoing guitars and the hyperactive drumming from Sam Doyle, and instead encompasses a slower tempo in contrast with luxurious chords and falsetto vocals.
‘Kamakura’ and ’Ribbon Road’ follow, with their powerful choruses and dreamy builds. Explicitly emotional lyrics suggest fragility to each track, marked with the powerful amplification of the instruments. Each song holds its own anthemic qualities that The Maccabees are so adept to creating. ‘Spit It Out’ conjures melancholic visuals with an introductory build that gently teases the listener, matched with Weeks’ whispered falsetto vocals. Climaxing into layered guitars with a crowd worthy chorus. Seemingly straying from the records path, ‘River Song’ introduces the haunting licks of brass and plucked strings eluding to a waltz style with an enveloping melody and thought provoking lyrics; “You’re not getting any younger/ Soldier on another year/ Tell yourself you’re getting wiser/ The truth is we’ve all done the same.”
Previously released single ‘Something Like Happiness’ gaged well deserved attention prior to the records full release, with its brilliant anthemic potential and warming positive lines; “If you love them/ Go and tell them/ Tell them over and over and over again/ Heaven forbid opportunities missed.” Stand out track comes in the form of ‘WW1 Portraits’ telling a tale of someone with “fair hair tied back/ Casual/ A go-getter/ Go getter/ You’re the best of all” played over a simply epically engaging blend of rattling percussion, whining synths and pulsating guitars. Ending on the suitably titled ‘Dawn Chorus’, a soft lulling song, leaving you with an easy contentment of the journey you have just voyaged with The Maccabees.
‘Marks To Prove It’ is out now via Fiction Records.