Over the years, The Maccabees have expanded their musical palette since breaking onto the scene in 2006. Releasing their debut album Colour It In in 2007, the album consisted of predominately upbeat indie rock. Their next two albums, Wall Of Arms and Given to the Wild, released in 2009 and 2012 respectively, saw a slower more mature sound while still keeping their integrity. Their long awaited new album Marks to Prove It was released this week on Fiction Records, and it will be interesting to see how their sound has developed over the last three years.
The album opens up with the furious title track. It feels raw, and it will go down well at their live shows. The production on the chorus is huge, and the punk-influence of the track brings a fresh approach to the table. Up next, ‘Kamakura’ is on the atmospheric side, featuring trademark basslines from Rupert Jarvis, and the track on the whole is well balanced, showcasing their desire to stay relevant in the indie rock scene. ‘Ribbon Road’ features some interesting guitar work, however the track doesn’t go anywhere and the vocals are low in the mix.
‘Spit It Out’ demonstrates singer Orlando Weeks’ vocal range, the big sound on the guitars and the reverberated piano definitely makes it feel suitable for arenas. ‘Silence’ brings the tone of the record down with some atmospheric vocals reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club. It is calming and the slow drumming keeps the relaxing tempo flowing, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in the track.
As the album goes on, it features a brass section, which is not exactly new territory for them. However, it does help them stand out, and when it is drenched in reverb, the results are beautiful. This is perfectly demonstrated in ‘Something Like Happiness’, a feel-good track with a strong vocal performance and the guitars wielding a big presence. ‘WW1 Portraits’ additionally contains what sounds like a tremolo effect on the guitar running in the background. This keeps the track flowing nicely and the mix is well balanced, further demonstrating the strong production.
The final track, ‘Dawn Chorus’ is a soft acoustic number, with Weeks’ vocals reminiscent of Richard Hawley. Also thrown in is a smooth jazz vibe to slowly round off the album.
Overall, Marks to Prove It is The Maccabees’ most focused, mature effort to date and shows that they are not afraid to try out new things. Marks to Prove It should help win new fans in addition to pleasing their already loyal fan base.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos