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Maritime - Heresy and the Hotel Choir (Cover Artwork)

Maritime

Maritime: Heresy and the Hotel ChoirHeresy and the Hotel Choir (2007)
Flameshovel Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: matt_bmatt_b
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It has been more than a decade since the demise of Illinois' favorite emo-infused indie pioneers caP'n Jazz. After they disbanded in 1995, a number of bands erupted on the scene, including Joan of Arc, American Football, Owls, and the Promise Ring. Often being referred to as "Kinsella bands" for the.
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It has been more than a decade since the demise of Illinois' favorite emo-infused indie pioneers caP'n Jazz. After they disbanded in 1995, a number of bands erupted on the scene, including Joan of Arc, American Football, Owls, and the Promise Ring. Often being referred to as "Kinsella bands" for their feature of one of the two Kinsella brothers, Mike or Tim, the label stuck to any band associated with the mother band, caP'n Jazz. One such band that received this label, though featuring no Kinsella brother, was Jade Tree act the Promise Ring.

Their connection? Davey von Bohlen. After an eight-year tenure, they disbanded in 2002. One year later, von Bohlen formed his current group, Maritime. Picking up where the Promise Ring left off, Maritime released its first record, an acoustic-splattered indie pop record entitled Glass Floor. It was met with very little success, often being knocked for its inability to stand par against attempts made by the bandmate's former groups. Maritime came back two years later to release the critically acclaimed We, The Vehicles, which featured the band refining their indie pop sound, adding electronic elements, including more dancey drum beats, and popping guitar leads. Riding the wave of success Vehicles brought them, Maritime quickly returned to release its third, and latest record, Heresy and the Hotel Choir.

Maybe there was more expectation surrounding this record. Maybe von Bohlen ran out of new ideas, so he stuck with the same formula as Vehicles. Whatever the reasoning, Heresy does not deliver, at least not in the same way Vehicles did. Where Vehicles defined Maritime, presenting a band that had found its niche, Heresy is just another pop record. On Vehicles, von Bohlen learned many things, including: how to sing, how to manipulate rhythm guitar and how to create infectious melodies that were neither grossly annoying nor clichéd. But Heresy, on the other hand, seems to just take the knowledge learned from Vehicles and extend that for 12 more songs.

There are the catchy, dancey numbers ("Guns of Navarone," "For Science Fiction"), the love songs ("Love Has Given Up"), the lo-fi tributes ("With Holes for Thumb Sized Birds," "Peril"), and the ominous third-person classics ("Aren't We All Found Out," "Are We Renegade") that has made Maritime what they are today. That isn't to say, however, that von Bohlen didn't try anything new on this record. He decorates some of his pop styling with a tint of intense immediacy not experienced on Vehicles, as seen in "Hours That You Keep." He also experiments with different effects on his guitar leads, making them more poignant and absorbent ("Pearl").

It isn't that Heresy is a bad record, it is just experiencing the same reception many records of its kind have received in the past. Just like Broken Social Scene's self-titled followup to You Forget It in People, or This Sinking Ship, the followup to Smoke or Fire's Above the City, which earned the band an instant fanbase outside of its Boston home, good, inventive records are hard to follow up.

The main element hurting Heresy and the Hotel Choir is what helped make We, The Vehicles so successful. Where there was next to no expectation for Maritime prior to Vehicles release, every critic was expecting them to top their last record. Heresy and the Hotel Choir is what it is: a simple, easy indie pop record. And while a solid effort, I'll be keeping We, The Vehicles in my record player just a bit longer.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Maritime - We, The VehiclesHot Water Music - Fuel For The Hate GameRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeThe Get Up Kids - Four Minute MileThe Promise Ring - Wood/WaterLess Than Jake - Losing StreakJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyFeist - The ReminderThe Get Up Kids - Eudora

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dagosto (May 19, 2011)

Grows on you with repeated listenings, getting better and better with familiarity.

gazquest (November 22, 2007)

'glass floor' is so much better than 'we, the vehicles'.

GlassPipeMurder (November 20, 2007)

well-written review though i wish it told me a little more about the music. would a punker dig this?

Big_Guy (November 18, 2007)

does anyone have the ep that they could send me in mp3 or physical form?

cubaricho (November 18, 2007)

Glass Floor was great, Vehicles was amazing, and this record is just "good." I think it sounds nothing like Vehicles and you all are selling them short by making that comparison. It stands on it's own as a record and like someone said above, that's a good and bad thing.

ricomedy (November 18, 2007)

I don't get the people who say this sounds exactly like 'Vehicles'. I think this is a very different album - in ways that are both good and bad.

Brian

maverick (November 17, 2007)

"One of the best things about We, The Vehicles is how much better than Glass Floor it was. While this is still much, much better than Glass Floor the shock of them being good is gone. I now expect them to be good, but I'm sure they don't have a problem with that."

Spot-on. I feel pretty much the same way; I was so disappointed by Glass Floor (especially considering how much I worshiped Wood/Water) that when I discovered Vehicles was not only tolerable but actually really fucking good, it was an awesome feeling. This record is just a logical sequel to that one (with a bit more rock element).

-Scott

thegetupkid (November 16, 2007)

I totally disagree with this review. I think this album is so much different than We, The Vehicles. I like both of them, but I feel like they finally grew balls again with Hotel. The new members of the band really changed the sound of Maritime in my opinion. The guitars, drums and song structure are so much more complex than in Vehicles.

Are We Renegade and Hours That You Keep might be my favorite songs from Maritime ever. Actually, I really really love the whole second half of this record.

I got to see them live in Portland in a really intimate setting and it was rad. Dan, the drummer totally remembered me from a hackey sack game we played at my University when the Promise Ring played there a few times years ago...

I think this is their best stuff yet. By far.

red_eye_inc (November 16, 2007)

i saw these guys last night, they were really good. Spot on with the review about how it's hard to follow up the breakthrough. One of the best things about We, The Vehicles is how much better than Glass Floor it was. While this is still much, much better than Glass Floor the shock of them being good is gone. I now expect them to be good, but I'm sure they don't have a problem with that.

supertomato (November 16, 2007)

i think davey was singing awesome on the last 2 promise ring records.

Scruffy (November 16, 2007)

We, The Vehicles wqas actually a letdown for me. It sounded like typical indie rock. I missed the obvious nods to Love present on Glass Floor, and the limited edition EP that preceded it. "Someone Has To Die" is as good as anything the Promise Ring did, with the possible exception of "My Life Is At Home".

MyStereoHasMono (November 16, 2007)

So FATA gets a 4star review, and this rock solid record gets a 3 1/2? That's fucking nuts.

dialoguefromamovie (November 16, 2007)

i like we, the vehicles better than this, but i think that this is just as solid. the sound is much better, the bass tones on this album are fantastic. and i think they finally sound really cohesive. the other albums always sounded like they wrote these basic songs, but then added a bunch of other elements to them. this one sounds like every part was written around the same time.
on a side, maritime-related, note...i'm glad they're finally coming back to michigan, the last time they played here was over three years ago, and they were so good. davey von bohlen is a great frontman.

gorlocked (November 16, 2007)

yeah. i'd give it a second listen. at first, i was like shit - it ain't we, the vehicles, but its actually a fantastic album. the first song just kinda misleads you. track three, for science fiction, is fucking awesome.

billnye (November 16, 2007)

solid album.

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