The fourth album by the south London quintet has a strange, disconcerting intensity about it – a self-destructive energy battling with mawkish introspection. While recent releases from indie’s new guard – Wolf Alice, Peace, Swim Deep – are hippyishly optimistic, the Maccabees, creeping close to 30, seem despondent when faced with the future. As lofty and stoic as Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, with a claustrophobic, concrete-like weight to its sound, Marks to Prove It is indebted to the cold grey city in which it was created – or perhaps the time spent in it drinking to forget: On Dawn Chorus, its subject “swigs a bottle to send him on his way down”; on Spit It Out, “There’s one to wash it down / One to wash it out”; and during Kamakura, singer Orlando Weeks laments, “Drinking when you’re drunken / To chase down the evening”. These are slow, loping, anxious anthems that bypass the drunkenness and muddle the brain like a hangover.
Harriet Gibsone is a freelance journalist