By Declan Roberts (@DeclanMR)
Unlike 2012’s Given To The Wild – a beautiful sun-kissed rock opera – The Maccabees fourth effort is a step into sublime noise. Recorded in their beloved Elephant and Castle studio, Marks To Prove It is a ‘whole’ record, an album designed to be listened to from start to finish with a complete narrative.
They kick off in unabashed fashion with the title track, a stop-start rollercoaster that’ll have you head banging like a Maccabee-loving-puppet. ‘Kamakura’ meanwhile feels like a ‘Given to…’ off-cut with its telltale crescendo builds. Marks To Prove It feels more stripped back compared to previous albums, showing the bare bones of their sound to great effect. The rawest moments come in ‘Silence’ and ‘Slow Sun’ as the layers are peeled away and brought down by a killer rhythm section.
‘Something Like Happiness’ is a jolly pocket of nostalgia as Orlando croons over a brass cascade. ‘WW1 Portraits’ cruises wonderfully as screams of “I’m going now” ring out over another delightful outburst. The final tracks are a fitting destination at the end of the night-long journey we’ve experienced. ‘Pioneering Systems’ is an angelic ballad while ‘Dawn Chorus’ is a last-gasp awakening, with its airy vibes providing a satisfying counterpoint to the album’s opener, bringing the listener full circle.
Marks To Prove It is a transformation. The indie lover-boys of ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and ‘Love You Better’ have metamorphosed into a fine-tuned machine, capable of crafting deeply satisfying soundscapes and an accomplished listening experience.