Maritime - We, The Vehicles (Cover Artwork)


We, The Vehicles (2006)


Maritime's debut Glass Floor showed a lot of promise. Davey Von Bolen's songwriting had reached a new level of maturity, but there was still something about it that suggested he wasn't absolutely comfortable in the post-Promise Ring garments he had donned. The songs seemed unwilling to deviate from simple up-tempo indie or mournful acoustic pieces, leaving listeners with just enough gems to brighten up the dull patches. We, The Vehicles, however, is a much different story.

Maritime's sophomore effort displays a band that seems much more comfortable and developed. Most of the songs are quick and pulsing, yet they feel relaxed thanks to the fact that the guitars aren't overbearing, or overused. Yes, there are plenty of moments of warm and fuzzy indie rock, but there is also plenty of room for Maritime's secret weapon, former Dismemberment Plan bassist Erix Axelson, to get his groove on.

The new, more unperturbed feel of the band also comes from Von Bolen's voice. He may still warrant the adjective "boyish," but it is no longer because of the vulnerable emo timbre he once sported, but rather because of a new more hushed and comforting tone. His vocals are often soothing and light, adding a layer of airy beauty or playful simplicity to otherwise driving songs.

Maritime have also expanded their indie pop songwriting parameters on We, The Vehicles. Opener "Calm," shows off a speedy, more pulsing style, while "Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts" and "Don't Say You Don't" yield a disco-punk vibe thanks to their dance-based beats. Even when Von Bolen busts out an acoustic the band sounds fresh. Songs like "No One Will Remember" and "German Engineering" show that unplugged no longer has to equal somber or down tempo.

After hearing Maritime's second album, Glass Floor seems more like a transitional work than a debut. Sure, Von Bolen had successfully shed his emo past, but Maritime still sounded like they were trying to fit in with the indie pop crowd rather than being actual members of it. Now with We, The Vehicles, Von Bolen and company not only sound like they fit in, but, like they have a few things to teach the rest of the gang.