ALBUM REVIEW – “The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets” by Marmozets

2014 has been a stunning year for debut albums. From the genre-bending masterpiece that was Issues’ self-titled and the stripped back sonic firestorm of Royal Blood, to the long-awaited first full-length from EDM maverick Skrillex, the discerning music fan has been spoilt for choice when it comes to great first bows. There’s another name to add to that glittering list, and that name is Marmozets. Having threatened to deliver something monumental since their first Passive Aggressive EP, they’ve taken their time, honing their skills and decimating the live circuit, before finally unleashing their full powers on a universe that likely isn’t ready. It’s been a good while since the UK’s produced a group as individually and cohesively gifted as this young quintet, and the fruits of their labours – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets – is worth the wait.

As good as their initial releases were, the unhinged brilliance of ‘Move Shake Hide’ was an enormous step-up, and a good indicator for the overall thrust of the first Marmozets full-length. It’s still one of the best exhibitions of their talents, but there are rivals to the throne of best song here; the deliciously dirty ‘Is It Horrible?’ in particular quickening the pulse and ensnaring the senses from the first listen. Twisting barbarous mathcore into radio-friendly anthems is no mean feat, but this band’s ability to draw memorable melodies from a venomous punk-metal stew feels effortless on obvious single ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ and the ultra-groovy ‘Love You Good’. Raucous but refined production values and a perfectly judged mix only make the aural attack all the more pointed. It’s this balance that makes moments like the solemn intro to ‘Hit the Wave’ feel all the more intimate – then the crashing chorus even bigger and bolder than it is.

The sheer breadth of styles employed here is astonishing, and fully lives up to the Weird and Wonderful Marmozets title. On the one hand there’s the gorgeous indie post-rock of ‘Captivate You’, and the piano-driven album centrepiece ‘Cry’. The latter’s steady build, from a soothing ballad first-half to the duelling guitars of its bridge section and then the epic final refrain, is a masterclass in dynamics and so intrinsically mournful it stands as a polar opposite to ‘Vibetech’. Fans of the band’s Vexed EP will find violent solace in this three-minute barrage of off-kilter stabbing guitars and percussive madness that stands as the only real justification for continuing Rolo Tomassi comparisons. Such diversity would feel nauseating were it not for the (comparably) more run-of-the-mill post-hardcore of ‘Born Young and Free’, ‘Cover Up’ and ‘Weird and Wonderful’, these more straight-ahead songs acting as the album’s glue.

If great songwriting chops weren’t enough, Marmozets also have a unique vocalist in Becca Macintyre. Much like Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil, she invests feeling into every syllable she sings, from the loveliest croon to the harshest screech, and lets her personality shine through. That’s not to say her bandmates are in any way slouches – as anything from the monstrous, sinister into to ‘Particle’ to the distinctive and powerful riffs of the whole album will testify – but she’s got that X-factor to lift them from genre standouts to something truly special. If there’s one criticism to be made it’s that the lyrics of songs can fail to live up to the music surrounding them, though topics like hangovers and body image are nothing if not refreshing.

Proceedings come to a measured close on one of those epic ballads that can only really end albums, the cyclic loveliness of ‘Back to You’. It’s a fittingly resonant conclusion to an accomplished and remarkably assured-sounding debut. The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets is, simply put, one of the best British rock albums of recent years, and is surely primed to make an enormous impact on the ears of many. Accessible heavy music is becoming more and more prevalent, and Marmozets are right at the front of the trend, kicking and screaming for their own little slice of superstardom. Likeable, virtuosic and perfectly capable of recreating their thunderous blasts of sonic gold in a live setting, the sky’s the limit for this young collective.

Rating: 9 / 10

Michael Bird

‘Move Shake Hide’

‘Captivate You’

Marmozets

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  1. INTERVIEW – Marmozets | RichardThinks.Org - November 10, 2014

    […] their debut album “The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets”, and more. Be sure to check out our review of “The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets”, the group will continue supporting ISSUES this month as part of the “Journey’s Noise […]

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