Maritime, Human Hearts

Maritime, Human Hearts

Despite an influx of New Wave-inspired dance-pop, indie-rock continues to fight for relevance as Maritime releases its fourth album, Human Hearts. For those unfamiliar with the band, Maritime was formed from the ashes of The Promise Ring and The Dismemberment Plan following Davey von Bohlen’s successful fight against brain cancer.

For some, Maritime represented the possibility of The Promise Ring’s pop sensibilities overlaying D-Plan’s frenetic pace; however, what materialized amounted to something that resembled The Promise Ring version 2.0. Despite this letdown, the members of Maritime have been able to outrun their past as ’90s icons in order to churn out three solid albums, and Human Hearts is no exception.

Maritime lays into Human Hearts with “It’s Casual,” a lush, almost gritty indie-rock staple that does well to represent the genre. Through the years, von Bohlen has developed quite a talent for melodious vocals, becoming far more expressive in a shorter, less strained vocal range than seen in Maritime’s previous albums. His fellow bandmates demonstrate an incredible amount of tact and maturity, too, as songs are written in a manner that highlights von Bohlen’s earnest but thin, lispy vocals.

The efforts pay off, as the already beautiful music of “Paraphernalia” champions von Bohlen’s growth. This holistic, melody-first approach keeps Human Hearts from any real failures. It’s not Kid A groundbreaking, but it’s not meant to be. Maritime manages even to stretch their legs a bit with their most interesting song to date, “Out Numbering,” a darker-sounding song that stands apart from the rest of the album.

Even as they continue to grow, of course, Maritime always manage to write a track that evokes a strong feeling of Promise Ring nostalgia — in this case, it’s “Apple of My Irony” and “Annihilation Eyes.” For some bands, that might come off as lazy and unoriginal, but for Maritime, it will always work, in much the same way that Weezer should always play something off their Blue Album and Pinkerton.

Maritime have the maturity to know who they are and to play into their strengths. Indie-rock might be slightly out of vogue and have ceded a bit of space to the ’80s-revival sound, but solid bands like Maritime will always have their place. Human Hearts is musical comfort food to those who grew up in the ’90s listening to college radio in their itchy sweaters, corduroys, and corrective lenses. While Human Hearts isn’t a classic, it certainly deserves a place in your playlist.

(Feature photo by Mark Dawursk.)

(Dangerbird Records -- 3801 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90026;; Maritime --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, November 9th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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