25 February 2018

Marmozets - Knowing What You Know Now

Since the middle of last year, all I've heard from people in the know in the UK music is that the second album from Marmozets is going to be one of the albums to watch. Whilst we didn't review their first album The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, that record was in Luke's top 20 for 2014 and I've since purchased the album as well.  Produced by Gil Norton, Knowing What You Know Now was released by Roadrunner Records on 26th January.  Now, I've deliberately waited a while with this review, as I wanted to make sure my opinion was focused and from the heart.  I didn't want to lavish false praise, or it's too harsh in an attempt to sound cool.  So, I've lived with this for a month - now it's time to find out what I think.

01 – Play

“Play” was released in 2017 as the first single off Knowing What You Know Now, it was also used as the theme music for the WWE NXT Pay-Per-View called Wargames.  It’s a quality number that bursts out of your speakers with a ferocity that cannot be understated.  It’s a song that has hunger at its core, Marmozets have stated their intent with this song to take everything up a notch.  “Play” was a breath-taking song back in August 2017, it still is in 2018, it’s already a classic song.

02 – Habits

“Habits” is the second song on this album, it was also the second song to be released as a single.  Much like “Play” is has some big hooks for people to lose their shit in, some fantastic vocals from Becca Macintyre and the song is a great mixture of modern rock, pop and classic rock all mixed into one. 

03 – Meant to Be

“Meant to Be” is a song I would best describe as sassy, but this has nothing to do with the lyrics.  It’s that opening riff which just comes across as a hybrid between early Wildhearts and Social Distortion.  After that opening bravado, it moves into familiar Marmozets territory, with massive vocals, huge drums and pounding bass.  It’s a good song, one which will cause a storm when performed live.

04 – Major System Error

“Major System Error” was another song which has been released as a single before the album was released, so it’s one that people will be familiar with.  A song about someone who is constantly lying, generally being dishonest and is best to be avoided.  It’s a harsh number, one where those feelings of betrayal and anger are laid bare for all to see, the music matches the words in that tone as well.  With another massive riff, Marmozets have an instant classic on their hands with this one.

05 – Insomnia

“Insomnia” is one of the slowest songs on Knowing What You Know Now, with its quiet verses and loud chorus sections, giving this song a retro feeling for anyone over 30.  It has a familiar feeling, I know I’ve heard something similar and I can’t figure out where for the life of me.  But I like this one, it shows that the band have more than one gear, more than one tempo to pick from, more than one idea and they have hidden depth about them.

06 – Lost in Translation

“Lost in Translation” is a strange hybrid of Hive-esque punk, with some Blur-13 period tone to the guitars, all kept together about a relationship that has exploded spectacularly and the friends are being called to help.  It’s a loud song, but it is not one that is an instant hit for me.  I appreciate the effort behind the song and the sentiment, but it was not an easy one to get onboard with.  I know this is just me on this one, but it’s the first slip in the high quality that has been the ever-present of this album.

07 – Start Again

“Start Again” picks up the energy with a song that searches for meaning after everything as fell apart, with a hint of needed to identify with a generation due to this loss.  It’s weird that people are obsessed these days with being from (insert name) generation, so it’s no surprise that this fascination has made its way into music.  However, back to “Start Again”.  Overall, this is a decent number, one that brings back some momentum to the record, but it doesn’t rock the boat or my world either.

08 – Like A Battery

“Like A Battery” is a bouncy little number, a fascinating glam-rock influenced song with a pop side as well.  It could be viewed as lacking depth, but I would argue against this.  Just because it’s not as hard-hitting as other Marmozets songs, doesn’t mean that it’s a poor song.  In fact, for me this is one of the best numbers on here, bring together that Wildhearts feeling again, a small bit of industrial noise and (bizarrely) a hint of Supergrass as well.  All tied up neatly with all of the hallmarks of modern Pop Rock music.  It’s got a bit of something for everyone, so what is there not to like?

09 – New Religion

“New Religion” has a few subjects mixed together, there is a strong hint towards a person with huge opinions who is but a shadow, there is a hint of a parting and exiting-stage left from someone’s life.  All the while, they are hoping the other person finds happiness in the future, so it’s a little confusing lyrically.  However, the music is spot on, it’s a good & honest hard/alternative rock number that will fill a dance floor within seconds.  Musically, it’s my favourite here, but I need to look at the lyrics again…...

10 – Me & You

“Me & You” is another slow number, one that is dealing with the subject of loss and the pain that is caused when someone is no longer there.  It’s a beautiful number, one with minimal instrumentation, but high on passion.  In a few years’ time (maybe even months), when they get to this section of the show, the crowd will be singing it to the band.

11 – Suffocation

“Suffocation” is a heavy alternative number, with a chainsaw guitar sound to the verses and a brilliant vocal performance.  That is until the stop/start chorus which sounds clunky and forced, it’s a deliberate feature and it stops all momentum that has been building.  It’s not an awful number, but that chorus is one that will not age well.

12 – Run with The Rhythm

Ending the album is “Run with The Rhythm”, a song that seems to be speaking about not quite being sure what is happening, yet they still head for the horizon anyway.  The magical leap of faith, the belief to follow something, even if you’re not sure where it’s going.  That is an admirable thing, this song tries to encapsulate this feeling and it does succeed that goal to a certain point.  Let’s be honest here, it’s not an instant classic, but it’s one that has such a good heart that it’s hard to ignore.  It ends the album facing the sun, full of hope and expectation.  That’s a good place to end this record.

Knowing What You Know Now is a great record, one which is worthy of the praise and attention that it’s receiving, it’ll also shot them into the public eye even further than their brilliant debut The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets. When they’re on point, there are few acts who could better them.  They’re as important to the British Rock scene as any band that has come through the ranks and file in years, if not so more important.  However, and it’s just a small however, they should have knocked a few tracks off this one.  It’s not a bloated album by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have one or two fillers in the mix.  But a Marmozets filler is still better than a lot of bands A-sides, so as I said – this is a small however.  Overall, Knowing What You Know Now is an important record which lives up to the hype behind the band, it’ll be up there in the albums of the year for a lot of people.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

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