Review Summary: Still weird. Still wonderful.
Before Black Peaks, Milk Teeth, Creeper and Employed to Serve stormed through, it was Marmozets that splintered the door which opened into the revival of Brit rock. From out of seemingly nowhere, a five-piece from West Yorkshire, comprised of 2 families, with an average age just shy of 20 released “The Weird and Wonderful”
in 2014. Their ability in fusing skittish math rock with moving melodies and captivating vocals subsequently flooded the mainstream with their exhilarating adolescent charisma and provided an entry point in the mainstream for the aforementioned bands to utilise. Its spontaneity is easy to overlook but the massive influence and wild success that Marmozets’ debut album gained is clear to see.
With that in mind, the bar has not been raised for Marmozets; it’s been set. Worse still, it’s been set not only by the continuous stream of brilliant debut albums from new UK-based bands but by their own previous efforts. Success has impacted this album both positively and not so positively. Becca’s vocals take precedence over the jagged riffs and “Knowing What You Know Now”
appears with more streamlined melodies than erratic riffing and explosive breakdowns. Many songs on this album feel like the guitars and beefy bass is merely supporting the vocals rather than owning the spotlight in equal measure. Furthermore, “Knowing What You Know Now”
is not as immediately grasping as “The Weird and Wonderful”
, however, it still exudes the same level of vigour and dynamism as its predecessor and the danceable spirit Marmozets displays shows absolutely no signs of fatigue.
Essentially, this album is an accentuation of everything about “The Weird and Wonderful”
. Tracks such as “Like A Battery”, “Lost In Translation” and the grungy “Meant to Be” pry the band’s audience out of their seats and force them to start moving through twisting riffs and quirky rhythms. Numerous moments on this album show Marmozets gravitating around a raving atmosphere where the electronic elements, clapping and anthemic instrumentation gives them an extra shot of adrenaline. Listening to these songs, particularly the spirited “Play”, transports you to a live environment where you can picture flashing lights and people throwing shapes you’d have never learned at school on the dancefloor. Finally, “Run With The Rhythm” serves as a fantastic closer, capturing melodious nature, tender sentiments and freedom of expression this album perfectly with its cathartic chorus.
Nevertheless, their persistent movement from the instrumentation makes the album sound like each track blurs into one another, thankfully, it’s Becca MacIntyre’s vocals that remind us when one track ends and another starts. She establishes herself not just as the star of the album but of a generation. She snaps into shrill cries and her traditional blunt, snide cries reflexively alongside the erratic twirling guitar hooks, particularly in “Lost in Translation” and “Major System Error” however on this album she incorporates an innocent tone, attempting to reach the soprano heights of singers such as Joanna Newsom. Bjork and Kate Bush, most notably during “Insomnia”. It’s a strange approach, one that will undoubtedly confuse many and annoy a few in the process, however, moments like these Becca is using her voice as an instrument as much as her peers, a voice that matches the innocent, reflective atmosphere on “Insomnia”. Picking another singer in hard rock within the past 5 years-possibly even since 2000-who displays similar vocal range Becca does and, moreover, how she uses it so erratically on “Knowing What You Know Now”
is a challenge.
“Knowing What You Know Now”
is the sound of a band not ageing, but maturing. Marmozets have learned what makes them so successful and have incorporated those lessons into the fabric of this album to make it sound as lively as possible. Consequently, the outcome is a more stable, anthemic and, yes, mainstream sounding record. Overall, after the release of “Knowing What You Know Now”
, Marmozets is a weirder and more wonderful band.