Very few bands have been able to build themselves a reputation as solid as Marmozets have preceding the release of their debut album. The West Yorkshire five-piece made one hell of a mark with chaotic second EP Vexed and from there have only gone from strength to strength, and should continue to do so with one of the most exciting releases you’ll hear this year. The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets does lack some of the dynamic quality which made Vexed and Passive Aggressive immediately impressive, and replaces it with something better; and after building a platform few bands have been able to so early into their career they’ve developed their sound in a way that few bands ever will first time out of the full-length blocks.
The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets is the sound of band who know they’re very good at what they do. Listening to it the record feels like it’s born of that confidence, that knowledge, and it’s a record which sounds all the better for the charisma powering it. It helps also that Marmozets are indeed very good at what they do – for such a young band it feels as if they always have been – and their debut is a delight to listen to because of how unrestrained it feels, how unburdened it is by any sort of pressure or doubts. ‘We can go wherever we want ‘cos we’re free, yeah we’re free’ vocalist Becca MacIntyre sings a minute or so into the record, and this statement continues to ring true when the album draws to a close forty-five minutes later, delivering on the promise of earlier releases despite a slight change in style – TWAWM is less manic and more mature. The record still has those flashes of mathy insanity, as heard on Particle, which displays dizzying ambitious once it kicks in, ferocious and frantic, but the band’s debut is much more focused, as is the case on standout track Captivate You, which is almost spellbinding as it progresses. It doesn’t pack a punch as you might expect, cruising for its chorus as vocalist Becca MacIntyre’s lower delivery seems to drift over rolling instrumentation. It’s magic, and it sees Marmozets take the foot off the gas before a climbing final ninety seconds, the best of both worlds and a bold new direction to boot.
In terms of older material, Vibetech is the most familiar, beginning with a splicing, shape shifting initial seventy seconds, relenting for the middle of the song before a savage final minute as MacIntyre roars and riffs rain. Comparisons to the likes of Rolo Tomassi and iwrestledabearonce spring to mind, and the song is the only one on the record on which these comparisons are glaring, which perhaps shows how Marmozets have moved away from their old style. That Genghis Tron / The Fall Of Troy intensity is toned down, and although it may polarize older fans it’s easy to appreciate how Marmozets have grown as songwriters. The choruses to the likes of emphatic opener Born Young And Free and Love You Good are stadium-sized with a playful edge, whereas Cover Up is almost radio-friendly, surprisingly sparkly, although that might just be my love of sibilance getting the better of me. Throughout The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets you get the sense that, generally speaking, the band have upped their game, with Particle and lead single Move, Shake, Hide intricate and explosive but not isolating to audiences. These are songs which, coupled with the bands excellent live reputation, will go down very well at shows, and the majority have been doing so for a year or so. It’s a result of the energy that drives them, and although this energy is channeled differently it’s still abundantly enthusiastic, paired with a more mainstream approach which doesn’t dull the alternative appeal.
Oddly enough, although the more mature side to Marmozets’ music is very commendable, the tamer, slower songs do provide some of the more forgettable moments on a record which as a whole is incredibly memorable. Ballad-esque Cry sounds recycled; you’ve likely heard songs like it before – those that begin delicate and slowly build, with the piano led intro to the seventh track eventually shifting direction and morphing into a full-band peak, albeit one which doesn’t quite reach the heights it probably aimed to upon conception. The track is also weak lyrically, much like second selection Why Do You Hate Me?, and although not overly clichéd it’s content does sound slightly watered down, although it’s easy to overlook as MacIntyre gives her best melodic delivery of the record; she really does master any style she goes for, and the fact that she shines on some of these blander moments provides some sort of silver lining. The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets ends with another more reserved track in Back To You, and whereas Cry was a somewhat unwelcome change of pace the closer is an excellent end, the calm after the storm to a degree, and when it does erupt it feels like a culmination, definite, and it serves as a testament to just what Marmozets have achieved here, almost triumphant as it ends what is really quite a remarkable and refreshing debut. Aside from Cry, and Back To You (kind of) the record sounds consistently original, offering some solid and necessary hope for British rock music; you don’t have to do things by the book to make a sizable mark, and it’s an ethos Marmozets have always delivered on, be it on past EPs or their excellent debut. The current scene needs releases like this one, which follows the equally impacting The Day’s War by Marmozets’ tour mates Lonely The Brave, and I love to see releases like this one creating a buzz beforehand which then intensifies to a roar when said release eventually sees daylight. I went off on a bit of a tangent then, but The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets is an important record, and it’s importance is only just trumped by its overall quality.
The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets indeed. It isn’t quite as weird as past works, if weird is fair, but it’s certainly the latter – a brilliant debut which, most importantly, shows some genuine progression / maturation. Are Marmozets the most exciting band currently making waves in the UK music scene even with their expected edge diminished slightly? Absolutely, and here’s to hoping it stays this way. The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets reminds me greatly of the early works of Biffy Clyro, not necessarily in style, but it’s brimming with the same sort of confidence and prowess. Take a look at Biffy now, and then envision Marmozets at that same level – it’s looking good right? With their debut album the band have certainly laid that foundation, and released potentially the best British debut of the year.
Listen to: Born Young And Free / Captivate You / Vibetech