The Maccabees have spoken about this, their fourth album, as being a difficult one to make. The word ‘traumatic’ has been bandied about. This seems to be as much to do with the fast-changing world around the five-piece in their base of Elephant and Castle in South London as well as the pressure of following up their most commercially successful album yet, 2012′s Mercury-nominated Given To The Wild.
The record opens with the fantastic rush of the title track which is strangely, melodically reminiscent of Beck’s ‘The New Pollution’ (without actually sounding anything like it). It’s an opener that grabs your attention and sets you up for what newcomers might assume is a long playing mix of the fun of Supergrass meeting the energy of The Cribs.
…only, the album doesn’t actually pan out like that. The next couple of tracks are melancholic, which is fine, but it’s a dirge-like melancholy like you would find on a run of the mill indie-by-numbers records. Whilst it strives for authenticity, it’s not anything new, and despite listening to the album several times, I found my attention wondering at this point, frankly.
On the fourth track, ‘Spit It Out’ the Maccabees start to rediscover themselves, as the track slowly builds and builds like it’s getting itself on track. The second half of the album is much stronger than the first, holding your attention far better, and it’s here that the albums two strongest tracks lie.
‘River Song’ with its refrain of ‘You’re not getting any younger’ (oh, don’t I know it) is hauntingly beautiful. And the album comes to a close with the gorgeous ‘Dawn Chorus.’ This can be likened to Syd Barrett discovering brass and Americana, and the only fault I can find with it is that it’s over far too quickly.
Despite sitting at number one in the current album charts ‘Marks To Prove It’ is perhaps only nudging the middle marks. A mixed record of some alright parts, some excellent songs, and some parts you’ll find that you can live without hearing again.