Release Date: Oct 16, 2015
Record label: Dangerbird Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
For the entire duration of Maritime's fifth full-length album, 2015's Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones, you are sure to be held in the anthemic swell of the Milwaukee band's emotional, melodic sway. Each track on Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones is a tiny epic, rife with dichotomous emotions that, as the dual title implies, feel trapped halfway between falling in love and feeling your heart break. Musically, singer/guitarist Davey von Bohlen, lead guitarist Dan Hinz, bassist Justin Klug, and drummer Dan Didier craft the kind of psychically incisive indie rock that somehow makes you imagine love and loss as dealing directly with travels at sea, constellations, and cross-country road trips.
Maritime has at least in some ways been a continuation of the music Davey von Bohlen and Dan Didier made together in The Promise Ring. Maritime’s fifth album comes four years after the band’s last, during which time The Promise Ring got back together briefly; it’s tempting to look for echoes of that reunion in the tunes that make up Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones. Perhaps Maritime did take a step in the Promise Ring direction, with a bit more complexity and strangeness on Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones, but von Bohlen, Didier, Dan Hinz and Justin Klug also have a maturity and confidence that sets Maritime apart from its past.
After Maritime’s opening set for American Football at Lincoln Hall earlier this year, Mike Kinsella remarked how the band’s music sounds like Taylor Swift’s. The crowd laughed. “I’m serious,” he told them, making it clear that he meant it as a compliment. Kinsella was right. While Davey ….
Maritime appear as some sort of leftover relic from the first-wave indie/emo era, but they continue to make straightforward indie rock with little pretension and a focus on melody. Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones is a reliably pleasant collection of pop-rock that would be perfect for a cross-state drive or a weekend hangout. Not much here is memorable, but many moments, like opener "Nothing Is Forgot," stand out for their wistful evocation.
Davey Von Bohlen, lead singer for Maritime and former member of Cap’n Jazz and The Promise Ring, has one of those voices: simultaneously vulnerable, headstrong, world-weary, and confident, it’s so unique and expressive that it makes every song interesting. The years since Cap’n Jazz’s early-’90s heyday have made his voice less precise but no less affecting; the songs on Magnetic Bodies/Maps Of Bones, Maritime’s fifth record, vary in tone and tempo, but the voice remains constant. Magnetic Bodies finds Maritime mostly lean and propulsive.