Having received widespread critical acclaim for their début album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, back in 2014, the British quintet certainly set a high standard by which their subsequent releases would be measured. With their sophomore effort, Knowing What You Know Now, the dual-family line up of the MacIntyre siblings – Becca (vocals), Sam (guitar), and Josh (drums) – and the Bottomley brothers – Jack (guitar) and Will (bass) – fail to exceed expectations, but nor do they disappoint. Marmozets are clearly a band who know where their strengths lie, as their reputation for energetic live shows attest, but they are also a band not afraid to push themselves.
Under the guidance of veteran producer Gil Norton – who has worked with the likes of Pixies, Foo Fighters, and Counting Crow – Mazmazets penchant for punkish high-energy affairs is captured with stark clarity on tracks such as Play, Habits, and Major System Error – tracks which, unsurprisingly, form the promotional face of the album. Yet, while these songs clearly play to the band’s known strengths, tracks like Insomnia, Like a Battery, Me & You, and Run With the Rhythm demonstrate that Marmozets are keen to push beyond being just another high-energy act fuelled by angst.
Resplendent with darker, atmospheric tones, Insomnia’s biggest failing is in its highly repetitious lyrics, which illuminates the group’s reliance on milking their lyrics and riffs to the last drop. Oftentimes the overall sense of energy and fun leaves this repetitiveness as a forgivable indulgence, as a means to an end, but it’s difficult to escape the sense that Insomnia is too long by a substantial margin – regardless of the performative aspect the repetition may play in the song’s mood. This is a shame, as Insomnia illustrates Becca’s versatility as a vocalist. She may not be the most technical of singers, but she clearly knows how to effectively employ her voice.
Becca MacIntyre’s charismatic presence is evident even in the relatively sterile context of a studio recording, and indeed each of her sneers, growls, yelps and yowls is compelling, her shifts from wispy child-like tones to full-throated adult calls are captivating. In her ample capacity as the group’s front-person – and certainly she has the potential to go down as one of the greats – it’s easy to overlook Josh’s pounding drums and Will’s thundering bass, Jack and Sam’s heavy indie-esque guitar lines, and the way each piece nestles with the others to create an album that is oh-so-much fun despite its shortcomings. If you’re after a loud, fast, and fun album you can’t go past Marmozets’ Knowing What You Know Now.