The first vocal we hear on The Maccabees‘ new album Marks To Prove It is one massive, elongated scream. To them, it’s probably a hugely self-affirming roar back on the indie scene; to us it’s more an exasperated cry of frustration that the London band have strayed from the great course they charted on Given To The Wild.
That last album – by all counts, even for non-indie heads like ours – was a surprising and underrated gem. Within seconds, however, it’s clear that The Maccabees are no longer interested in the grace of Child or the haunt of Unknow, returning to the unsubtle bombast of chart indie on the opening track alone.
Once again, most of the pleasure in this record (like all their others) lies in the charisma of Orlando Weeks. We’ll always love him for Young Colossus, so it’s a relief to see him carry mediocre songwriting aloft with a degree of alternative charm. That’s what makes a song like Kamakura remotely memorable, or Slow Sun the resplendent alt-rock gem that shines brighter than everything else on this record (mainly because it sounds like it belongs on the previous one).
There’s no doubt this album will do well for The Maccabees, capitalising as it does on the wave of post-1975 indie fetishism the British public have right now. And with rousing songs like Something Like Happiness, they almost deserve it. It’s just a shame that we had a taste of something exquisite from them in 2012, a genuine excitement for the direction they were taking, only for Marks To Prove It doing nothing but leaving us with old scars of mediocrity.
Marks To Prove It by The Maccabees can be ordered here.