Album review: The Maccabees - Marks To Prove It
PUBLISHED: 17:41 18 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:41 18 August 2015
The band peppers lovelorn introspection with the odd crowd-pleasing surge for a solid, accomplished record
The passage of time is the preoccupation on this quintet’s fourth album, inspired by their recording studio location of Elephant & Castle, itself in the midst of huge regeneration and social upheaval.
From this cauldron comes arguably the band’s most accomplished set to date.
Lead singer Orlando Weeks’ twitchy, nervous vocal energy still feeds the band’s familiar, seductive urgency on the surging title track that opens the album, but the set is carefully curated to soar, dive and hover.
Thus we’re taken through the bloody noses and bruised egos that mark lifelong friendships in the widescreen musings of Kamakura, Ribbon Road’s rumbling drums and despondent demeanour and Spit It Out’s brooding, loud-quiet-loud dynamics and soul-searching - but ultimately optimistic - lyrics.
Silence cuts the pace to a crawl with forlorn piano and River Song proffers mournful brass before Something Like Happiness punches through the miasma with fulsome chorals and an arena-levelling climax. But even here there’s an underlying sadness; Weeks’ advice that “If you love them, go and tell them” dispensed by a protagonist who can only imagine what real love feels like.
The strength of writing is equal to the arrangements, and intelligent curation unifies the album - underlined by the sunlit brass lining the heavy-hearted break-up clouds of closer Dawn Chorus, pointing both us and them to a brighter future.