Review Summary: Visceral post-hardcore that you can get your friends into. No wonder these kids have hype...
The coolest kids of the UK rock scene are pretty damn infectious. Their lyrics and somewhat generic sense of melody admittedly came close to turning me off in places, particularly in the first two tracks (which, along with Love You Good
, are by far the weakest); I mean "We can do whatever we want coz we're born young and free" was too much a cliche for my jaded ears to handle. However, the Marmozets have three great strengths, and all three of them are so strong and implemented so well that the album stands its ground firmly.
The first is good, old-fashioned energy; all of these songs have an unbelievable amount of attitude and vitality behind them, and I can’t wait to find out how it comes across live. This makes all the difference; good songwriting in this kind of music matters very little if the band don't have the impetus to send their songs blasting through their listeners' speakers without reserve. Their second strength is the mathy elements that they add to their sound by means of playfully awkward time signatures, which add a frantic, hooky edge. This increases the energy levels even further in a manner similar (yet more abrasive than) to contemporaries Arcane Roots, and an excellent example of this is the 5/8 in Cover Up
’s chorus. Finally and most obviously is singer Becca Macintyre, whose gritty, decisively British intonation is highly distinctive and undeniably catchy. She’s also surprisingly versatile, given how for 80% of the album she’s belting out anthemic verse after anthemic chorus after anthemic bridge; as the intro to Hit the Wave
show, she’s capable of a softer, calming sound, and in the chaosfest that is Vibetech
, she screams like there’s no tomorrow.
My main issue with the album is that despite its surprising accessibility, it does come across as visceral-yet-catchy rock song after visceral-yet-catchy rock song, which the sole exceptions of the ballad Cry
, the adrenalised spaz-out Vibetech
and the slow closer Back to You
. There is a decent amount of variation between pace and mood, but it isn’t quite enough to set the majority songs apart. Therefore, as is often the case with such albums, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets can be treated in two ways: as a consistently awesome tour-de-force or as a best-of-a-similar-bunch style highlights album. For me, it’s fairly consistent but not consistent enough to avoid becoming a highlights album.
This is no bad thing though, because I really, really, really like the highlights. Cover Up
is fun and frantic and boasts a fantastic bridge that contrasts nicely with the other, more sporadic parts of the song. Both Weird and Wonderful
and Hit the Wave
are perfect combinations of powerful choruses and excellent riffs. Back to You
is also an appropriate note to close on, since its somewhat exhausted yet emotional atmosphere and restrained pace match the listener’s feeling of having just been pummelled by an album full to the brim with energy.
I’m quite curious to see what the Marmozets do next; they’ve got a winning formula here and the chances are that they’ll work on refining it even further between this and their next release, but they also sound like they have the potential to move onto more advanced areas of the post-hardcore/math rock spectrum if they wished to. In any case, this is a strong debut and deserves the attention it’s been getting within the UK recently. If you like rock with a good dose of gritty passion, you’ll like this to some degree.