It’s a good title for an album, that, because it’s accurate. Well, the second part more so. On their early EPs, 2011’s Passive Aggressive and its follow up, 2012’s Vexed, they displayed what turned out to be the pinnacle of their weirdness, fusing mathy hardcore with Dillinger-esque screams to make a vibrant and acidic cocktail of fury and occasionally danger. But now, they’ve mellowed out a bit, turning down the vitriol and focusing on writing the best melodic rock songs that they can, and the final product, even though the weirdness has diminished, the change has made their sound even more wonderful.
There’s much more of an emphasis on melody throughout The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets, especially compared to the two aformentioned EPs, though some of the frenetic mathy spark that they had already nailed remains present. Each track exudes such an unconventional catchiness; Why Do You Hate Me? gets in a massive chorus nice and early on amidst jutting, angular riffs, while Is It Horrible? has got to be one of the best songs released this year, and it really wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to expect to hear it on daytime Radio 1. On the other side of the coin, Vibetech bludgeons the listener with abrasive, stop-start riffs and larynx-mangling screams from frontwoman Becca MacIntyre.
MacIntyre really is the shining light of the band. With real star quality, she gives a phenomenal vocal performance throughout, with every possible angle covered. Strong melodic vocals dominate as on alt-rock smashes like Back To You and Move Shake Hide, but occasionally segue into piercing banshee shrieks in true Jekyll and Hyde fashion on the likes of Born Young And Free. It’s when the speed and volume are turned down a tad when MacIntyre – and indeed the whole band – really shine. The piano-led Cry provides a mid-album breather before morphing into an absolutely storming riff, while Captivate You is just an absolutely beautiful song, with both tracks displaying the versatility in the vocals, shifting a few gears down into a soulful near-whisper. It really shows the maturity that has developed during the band’s evolution into their current incarnation, with songs on the album that bands many times Marmozets’ senior would struggle to muster.
With debut albums like this, it’s usually commonplace to say something in the region of “This is a band who are going to go far”, but with Marmozets, the reverberations have already become noticeable – the singles that preceded the album’s release have already been playlisted on Radio 1, while Captivate You has been played over the closing credits to the BBC One drama Our Girl. This just shows the potential that this band has. They’re a band unlike any other, heavy and leftfield, but poppy and melodic all at the same time. It’s just a matter of time before Marmozets become the biggest band in the country. They certainly deserve it.
For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Rolo Tomassi, The Dillinger Escape Plan
Words by Luke Nuttall