People seem to forget exactly what Marmozets brought to the table with their debut. When The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets was released in 2014, it was during the midst of Britrock’s explosion, in which acts like You Me At Six and Mallory Knox would experience popularity that they’d be unable to surpass in the coming years. And yet, here was a band simultaneously embracing this climate and openly shunning it, moving away from the techy hardcore of their early EPs to a more traditional take on post-hardcore, but with a verve and electricity that the rest of those bands couldn’t even dream of. It’s the reason that album has stood the test of time where so many of their contemporaries have fallen off, remaining a slice of evidence for just how vibrant and kinetic this sort of Britrock can actually be. That’s not to say that the cause for concern surrounding Marmozets sophomore effort was completely gone though; for one, four years is a long time, particularly in the eyes of an increasingly fickle music-consuming public, and with the British rock landscape changing considerably in that time, there’s no telling if Marmozets would still be viewed as highly, or simply become lost in the shuffle like so many before them.
But with every repeated spin of Knowing What You Know Now, it becomes clearer and clearer that Marmozets are a band that have not and will not be losing that spark any time soon. It might not be as much of an immediate shock to the system as its predecessor, and thus just falls shy of that level of true excellence, but it’s indicative of a band who have greatly evolved, tightening and refining their sound to their most accessible point to date, but with a level of kinetic energy and sharpness that far too many alt-rock bands are afraid to use to their advantage, Marmozets once again vault over the competition with consummate ease.
Possibly the biggest reason for this is how excellently the band play to their strengths. There are no major changes or additions to the recipe (if anything Marmozets have pruned back their sound to free it of some of the extremities), but that leaves a core of strength that stands unhindered. If the likes of Play and Lost In Translation seem indebted to the recognisable Marmozets formula – jagged post-hardcore riffs underpinned by an unashamedly mainstream-baiting core – it’s because they are, but there’s such a sharpness and an electric atmosphere that it hardly matters; when the over-familiarity of New Religion is the only case of “Marmozets-by-numbers” being used as a pejorative, that’s not exactly a bad thing.
That’s not to say that Knowing What You Know Now is boring or predictable either, but rather that Marmozets have developed such a watertight knack of making whatever they do seem like the most natural thing in the world. Playing around with big, ’90s-esque radio-rock melodies on Meant To Be and Run With The Rhythm unlocks the full potential of Marmozets’ mainstream-dominating prowess, while the blaring horns on Major System Error and Like A Battery split the difference between classic rock swagger and modern bombast expertly. Then there’s Becca MacIntyre who’s lost none of the vocal dexterity that makes her such a powerhouse, whether it’s the electrified, almost theatrical belting on Play and Suffocation, or a softer, more impassioned approach to benefit the languid balladry of Me & You. Even if the cooing on Insomnia is jarring to the point of unsettling – positioned somewhere between Japanese Voyeurs’ Romily Alice and Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser – it’s evident of a band who, even in the most comfortable stage of their career to date, are still finding ways of taking the left path into weirder territories that are still very capable of infiltrating a mainstream consciousness.
That might as well be the bottom line for Knowing What You Know Now, an album that could very well take its creators to the highest of heights, but without any massively detrimental compromises. It would be foolish to suggest that no compromises have been made at all, but that’s not automatically a bad thing, and by doing so, Marmozets have continued to push forward while continuing to make interesting, relevant music. If Knowing What You Know Now is the first step to Marmozets being a truly world beating band, then so be it, then it’s hard to think of a better way of going about it.
For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Arcane Roots, Reuben
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Knowing What You Know Now’ by Marmozets is out now on Roadrunner Records.