I managed to catch a little of Marmozets' set at Leeds Festival earlier in the year, but from outside on the screen as I was walking around, trying to cram in as much as possible in my one day there. It sounded suitably explosive, energetic and potent, justifying their recent huge rise in popularity, so, as soon as I was presented with their album for review, I was definitely intrigued to hear it.
After my first play through though, I was left feeling a little cold by some of this recording. It's tight, well produced and has some impressive songs during it, but there are a lot of moments that also grated on me. Whilst you can hear they undoubtedly nod towards great bands like Refused, At The Drive In, Rolo Tomassi and System of a Down in their influences, they lather it overall in a very radio friendly, almost Paramore-esque coating which, whilst I am sure that will top it off and make it all make sense to a lot of people, this aspect of it puts me off somewhat.
However, I left it a few days, and went back for a second helping, and, despite the initial reservations, and despite some parts still just not gelling with my ears at all ('Captivate You', 'Cry' and 'Back to you' just kill the mood for me, although the last of the three is the solid song), more to like is revealed. There are plenty of hooks, absolutely tons of them in fact, plus stacks of clever little twists and turns in the way the whole thing sounds, one second tech-metal, the next an Arctic Monkeys style riff, some nice half time rhythms in a chorus, then a big stompy heavy section, then back to jangly catchiness, and that's just from a minute long segment of the opening song. Whilst vocalist Becca does have an immense voice and a pretty impressive holler, her warbling high end singing still does jar on me a little.
Marmozets will be a fantastic 'bridge' band for a lot of people, that will introduce what will primarily be a very young fan base to something heavier and more interesting. Songs like 'Particle' (where the album kicks up a few gears and takes a turn for the much better for me) and the title track 'Weird and Wonderful' have a much weirder slant to them, scuzzier, more depth both literally and in maturity of song delivery. You can definitely hear something of At The Drive In within these two, in vocal patterns and the more disjointed guitar parts.
'Vibetech' is the heaviest track, still showing off a vast expanse of influences, including a few (almost) Dillinger Escape Plan-ish tinges with pretty large hardcore breakdowns peppered throughout as well. 'Hit The Wave' is loaded with anthemic vibes, massively epic but still a nice dashing of oddness to it that makes you know Marmozets have plenty of skills and ideas in their armoury.
This melding of heavy and mainstream sounds is obviously doing them no harm with the album coming out on Roadrunner Records and getting on plenty of festivals and tours. It's great to see another interesting West Yorkshire band getting picked up and thrown far out into the world, and they definitely have the talent to run far and wide with the opportunity.