Once in a while, South London’s Elephant and Castle gives birth to something great. The 1900’s gave us Charlie Chaplin & Michael Caine, but more recently, their musical finest, The Maccabees. Set to release their greatly anticipated fourth album on 31st July, the musical community at large has high hopes for the quintet. The teasers released in the last few months have been titillating, but does the LP live up to the hype? It’s good news… Marks To Prove It is quite frankly, brilliant and better than the surrounding cloud of media hype.
Opening with the fast paced rock of the title track is a bold move as it is probably the most remarkable track on the LP, but the remainder far from disappoints. It draws strong comparison to its immediate predecessor, Given to the Wild on the first spin, but each track reveals complex and layered melodies that weren’t there before. This layering adds a greater depth to their already proven formula of success keeping their sound fresh and interesting.
The tracks themselves are interlinked and best listened to together in one sitting, making Marks to Prove It an album in its truest sense. The best example of this layering can be found on Spit it Out which has every instrument dancing around each-other expertly and beautifully during a wonderful, track long crescendo.
With the exception of River Song which has an instrument which grates on my ear (albeit less so with every spin), every track is as enjoyable as it is innovative. The lyrics are largely observational and extrospective narratives which (according to recent interviews) are largely about their home borough. They are typical of Orlando’s poetic witticism, a great example being “give a bloody nose to the best friend he knows…your best friends forgive you, your best friends forget, you get old” on Kamakura.
Overall the effect of album is atmospheric and hypnotic, the sort of collection of songs you’ll catch yourself listening to with your eyes closed and nodding along slowly. Following the example of Spit it Out the tracks all build in intensity as each note passes, that is with the exception of the beautifully melancholic Silence which is a welcome break from the intensity before going right back into it for the remainder and finishing on a high.
Marks to Prove It is a truly sterling album and one that will certainly be featuring in my collection for years to come. Highly Recommended.