Review: Marmozets – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Tess Davidson 7 October 2014

For a girl who wears brogues and likes to have a nice cup of tea, you can well imagine that headbanging has never come easy to me. Taking the niggling worries of possible brain damage seriously, I have always been a very robotic rocker. My attempts to ingratiate myself into the headbanging fraternity of many gigs and festivals have seen me end up switching between a half- hearted bop, and an over-enthused, hair flouncing combination of moves which has often ruined any cool that I pretended to have, as well as the live experience of a type of music that in reality I do quite enjoy.

And when faced with the Marmozets' debut album, THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL – a fresh battle cry joining the ever-increasing number of new influential rock bands currently breaking through – I have to admit to a degree of cynicism. After a festival season arguably dominated by the incredible sound of Royal Blood, I was unsure whether the Marmozets could stand up. But it was mid-internet-surf that with a sudden disconcerting realisation, I saw that Sam Macintyre, guitarist and vocalist, had posted a beautifully caustic response to my growing doubts. “We haven’t come from out of nowhere, we’re not messing about: this is our lives". They are setting up to be taken seriously.

To be fair to the Marmozets, they definitely know how to stand out from the crowd. A welcome change from the typical male rock frontman was the presence of Becca Macintyre on lead vocals – a fact that stirred the feminist pride within me. Founded in 2007, the band consists of two sets of siblings, Becca and her brothers, Sam and Josh McIntyre, alongside Will and Jack Bottomley.

Fresh out of their teens, their music is characterised by its youthful brashness. The chaotic clatter of the opening track, ‘Born Young and Free’ is a prime example of their sound. The Bottomley and Macintyre brothers  almost fall over each other to establish their dominance with their quasi-math rock guitars, and then, soaring above, arrive the potentially jarring, pop-inspired choruses. The combination just shouldn't work. Yet somehow I find the anthemic chants of Becca Macintyre echoing in my mind, my feet stomping along to the driving crush of the angst-ridden drums and guitars. Theirs is not a sound to be messed with.

Marmozets – These kids do stand a chance

As the album progresses, the band's real talent begins to shine through. Particularly outstanding is the frankly enormous vocal range of Macintyre. Becca’s immense musical ability is found in the transition from earthy, throaty cries – evident in songs such as ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ and ‘Is It Horrible?’ – to a fragile, feminine lilt in ‘Captivate you’ and ‘Cry’. Her voice is a siren call for the youth – a declaration of the Marmozets' worth.

Produced by Larry Hibbitt, originally a member of the band Hundred Reasons, THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL MARMOZETS has a frequently unique and expansive sound –one that just ignores traditional genre boundaries. This is never more apparent than in ‘Vibetech’, a cataclysmic, intensely technical, musical rollercoaster. Hibbitt’s punk influence sees the band to venture into uncharted territory, well beyond the more usual confines of math rock.

Indeed the strength of the Marmozets lies in their ability to not restrict themselves – their genre-defying combination of sounds keeps the listener constantly on their toes, breathlessly awaiting the next hook. In a musical culture that prizes departure from the clichéd, the Marmozets present themselves as a delightful and exciting alternative to convention. If they can successfully make me, of all people, stamp my feet and bang my head in time, the Marmozets are set well on the road to enduring success.