June 14, 2006
Maritime "We, the Vehicles"
Here's how we got to Maritime: Teenage boy forms punk band. Band breaks up. Boy forms another band. Band releases a seminal record that later helps to define a genre called 'emo.' Band involved in serious van accident. Boy develops a brain tumor and faces his mortality. Boy seizes upon these brushes with death and decides to take his band's music in a direction that's a bit different than what his fans might expect. Boy's band falls on face and breaks up. Boy forms new band that takes elements from his previous band and glosses them in a beautifully sweet pop coating. Formerly loving music world turns their backs on the now-unapologetic boy. Boy and his band continue to make great pop music. Boy's band releases excellent second album.
Some Promise Ring-obsessed friends of mine have not warmed up to the whole Maritime thing, and that's a shame. Personally, I find Davey von Bohlen's current musical stylings to be much more appealing than The Promise Ring, and even though I liked them, I always felt that they were shell-shocked with life after Nothing Feels Good. In a way, I felt that Glass Floor was the record Davey always wanted The Promise Ring to make. We, the Vehicles, their second album--and first for new label Flameshovel--only continues the band's descent into pure pop perfection. Jingle-jangle pop-rockers? Man, there's eleven of 'em on here, and they're all wonderful. Some are a bit more rock, such as "Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts," "Calm," and "German Engineering>" Some of 'em are a bit mellower, such as "We Don't Think, We Know," "People, The Vehicles," and "Protein and Poison." Yeah, there's a bit of a Smiths/Housemartins vibe to their sound, but it's not all that noticeable, and von Bohlen's not trying to be Paul Heaton or Morrissey, so it's quite all right that they take inspiration from those wonderful bands. It's sad, thought, to know that people who loved the Promise Ring are stubbornly resisting Maritime's pop charm. They really don't know what they're missing; We, the Vehicles is not only as good as the Promise Ring catalog, I'm not being unrealistic when I say that it is quite possibly better than anything they did. It's a wonderful record.
Resist Maritime's pop charm? Why on earth would you want to do that?
Listen To: "We Don't Think, We Know"
(Broken link has been fixed.)