INDIE rock band The Maccabees return with an album that demonstrates a lack of ideas.
Stadium rock ideas grapple with atmospheric passages on an album that struggles to mark its own identity.
Marks to Prove It is an album about relationships but without the edge and unpredictability that comes with kinship.
Musically the album falls flat with many tracks sounding very similar to bigger bands like Radiohead (Spit It Out), Elbow (Slow Sun) and Coldplay (Something like Happiness) without crafting a sound of their own.
While pushing for huge climaxes, the mixing and production mean the instruments have no impact and the atmospheric sections often sound half-hearted.
The use of horns scattered amongst various tracks sound nice at face value but their use is a novelty rather than adding value to the songs.
Orlando Weeks’ whimpered and fragile vocals show the vulnerability that matches the subject of the album (Marks to Prove It and Pioneering Systems, for example) and the use of a choral choir (Dawn Chorus) is a nice touch but not enough to keep the album interesting.
Guitarist and pianist Hugo White said to NME: “I think if we’d just met each other and decided to do a record and it was this record, or it at least took the same amount of time [as this record], then we would have given in and said it wasn’t working.”
The band have also described writing sessions as “painful” and “tricky”, explaining the structurally weak songwriting, abrupt endings and a lack of fluidity throughout the album.
Apart from a lack of identity, the main problem with Marks to Prove It is that it doesn't know whether it wants to be a chart-topper or a cult favourite.
The wrestling between the two makes for a disjointed listen.