The Maccabees’ Track By Track Guide To Their Fearless New Album ‘Marks To Prove It’

Recorded over two and half years in their own Elephant and Castle studio and documenting the nuances of the London area’s places and people, the new Maccabees album ‘Marks To Prove It’ – released on July 31 – takes the atmospherics of 2012’s ‘Given To The Wild’ and streamlines them into their most direct and purposeful record yet. Here, Orlando Weeks (vocals, guitar), Felix White (guitar, backing vocals) and Hugo White (guitar, piano, backing vocals) give us the skinny on all 11 songs…

‘Marks To Prove It’
Felix: “Because ‘Given to the Wild’ started more composed and got bigger and quicker as it went through, we were keen for this to be different.”
Orlando: “The story arc of the record is of day into night into day again and ‘Marks To Prove It’ feels like the entrance into twilight.”


Felix: “It’s a place in Japan. We went to Kamakura on tour a couple of years ago and the music was made about that. It’s quite a peaceful, atmospheric piece of music but Orlando’s words are about kicking out time on the high street. They’re opposite things but that’s why I think they play together in quite a unique way.”

‘Ribbon Road’
Hugo: “It’s a track where we tried to be more patient than we normally are with music, it rumbles along and it’s kind of repetitive and it envelopes you with that patience.”
Felix: “The initial idea was for it to sound like old men playing in a Morroccan hash bar. It doesn’t sound anything like that but you have to start far out to get there sometimes.”

‘Spit It Out’
Hugo: “It set the dynamic tone of us playing as a band and how it was gonna work for this record.”
Felix: “It’s a really late epiphany to come to, but distorted guitars, when you just strum them they sound great. We always found it hard for that to work for us in a convincing way, so it was nice to find a way to make that work in a Maccabees way.”

Felix: “Hugo sings it and it’s the end of side one, really.”
Orlando: “There’s a melancholy to the track that [corresponds with] a point in the night when everyone feels like that. The next day, there’s real insight in those moments. It’s kind of menacing, and it’s poignant and it’s sad but it’s also got something that suggests that there’s more to come so it fits perfectly at this point in the album.”

‘River Song’
Orlando: “This was about seeing people having a row – some rows are angry and some are really sad. You only need to glimpse it and you know the whole story. It was very sad and unkind to see and that felt like that time of night, too. When people should have gone home by now.”

‘Slow Sun’
Orlando: “Sam and I went and recorded people on the really early commute, that first beginning thing when some people are still awake and some people are going to work.”
Felix: “There’s an Italian woman swearing and Cenzo Townshend who mixed the record, he’s Italian and he was like “you know there’s an Italian woman screaming obscenities at the start of the track?””


‘Something Like Happiness’
Orlando: “It’s about being really happy for someone if they’ve got something. You can feel like you have to rally against things a lot of the time, but actually people know their minds and if it brings someone peace or contentment then good for them.”

‘WWI Portraits’
Orlando: “I went and saw an exhibition of WWI Portraits and I remember coming home and thinking, I’m gonna do my own propaganda. Seeing all these paintings of bright young things going off to fly aeroplanes and looking every inch the hero and thinking that you can choose to make those ideals in fiction. It was a good exercise, trying to idealise in a way that doesn’t sound stupid.”

‘Pioneering Systems’
Hugo: “It’s not typical of us as a band. It’s the first time we’ve ventured into more old school, natural-sounding stripped back territory. I’m not playing guitar on it and it’s very piano led.”

‘Dawn Chorus’
Felix: “It’s the last thing that got recorded for the record so it’s fitting that it ends it.”
Hugo: “There weren’t any lyrics and it didn’t have proper sections and then Orlando came and did one take and it didn’t get touched.”