The Maccabees: Marks to Prove It review – muddles the brain like a hangover

(Fiction)

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.

Contributor

Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Maccabees: ‘It's impossible – bands can't afford to live in London any more’
Holed up in their studio, the south London quintet have watched as their once gritty neighbourhood was bulldozed. Now their fourth album, Marks to Prove It, explores the beauty of an area – and a city – changing beyond recognition

Jenny Stevens

09, Jul, 2015 @4:46 PM

Article image
Where there's Maccabees there's brass | Laura Barton

Laura Barton: The Maccabees sing songs about Lego and toothpaste. They are also being hailed as the saviours of indie. So why have they joined forces with a brass band?

Laura Barton

07, Jul, 2009 @8:30 PM

Review: The Maccabees

6 out of 10: Reading, Sunday, 4.05pm. Are they genuinely loved by this overflowing crowd, or are they just the only alternative to Funeral for a Friend and the Cancer Bats?

Rosie Swash

26, Aug, 2007 @5:28 PM

Article image
The Maccabees: last of the great indie guitar bands?
They were once dismissed as 'landfill'. Now they are critically acclaimed. Where did it all go right for the Brighton band?

Dave Simpson

17, May, 2012 @7:30 PM

The Maccabees | Pop review

Brixton Academy, LondonGiddy energy, brassy outbreaks and heroically bad dancing marked the Maccabees' graduation to playing big arenas, says Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

05, Oct, 2009 @10:00 PM

Article image
The Maccabees review – farewell gig creates powerful fan communion
Re-energised and euphoric, the band sweep away any knock-kneed flimsiness for a full-bodied final bow

David Bennun

30, Jun, 2017 @11:17 AM

Article image
Alt-J / The Maccabees – review
Tricksy Mercury prize favourites Alt-J try a little too hard, while rivals the Maccabees have matured heroically, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

27, Oct, 2012 @11:17 PM

Article image
The Maccabees: Given to the Wild – review

The Maccabees may not be the future of rock'n'roll. But they seem to have finally made their breakthrough, says Alexis Petridis

Alexis Petridis

05, Jan, 2012 @3:58 PM

Article image
The Maccabees review – three-guitar rush with an apres-midnight melancholy
The London band deliver a winning indie intensity, with a welcome Macc’n’cheese moment

Caroline Sullivan

25, Nov, 2015 @10:58 AM

Pop review: The Maccabees, Wall of Arms

This is the sound of a band aiming to bid to breathe life into British indie, says Hazel Sheffield

Hazel Sheffield

18, Apr, 2009 @11:01 PM