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Maritime - Human Hearts Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 8
Production 9
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9.5
Reviewer Tilt 10
Final Verdict: 87%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 7.75
Production 8.5
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9
Average: 83%
Inside AP.net

Maritime - Human Hearts

Reviewed by: Jeremy Aaron (04/06/11)
MaritimeHuman Hearts
Record Label: Dangerbird
Release Date: April 5, 2011

As someone for whom casual Friday means an opportunity to rock my vintage Promise Ring tee—in extra small, of course—I obviously retain more than a little interest in the work of Davey von Bohlen. And this would probably be more or less true even if his legacy were limited to playing guitar in Cap’n Jazz and fronting The Promise Ring’s early days. Luckily for us, providing the riffs for songs about Little League and waxing nostalgic himself about postcards, Cherry Cokes and the First World problems of suburban teenagers—as enduring as those things have surely been and continue to be—were more of a stepping stone than something for him to hang his hat on. From The Promise Ring’s reign as torch-bearers for mid-‘90s emo through their reimagining as power-poppers (Very Emergency) and roots-rockers (Wood/Water), what didn’t change were von Bohlen’s earnest delivery and keen sense of melody, common threads that would carry over to his next project, the indie-pop-leaning Maritime. Now, eight years and four full-lengths in, Maritime’s career is as long-running and their catalog as hefty as the iconic Promise Ring, and it’s a bit of a disappointment that they haven’t attained the same level of name recognition, as their records have been shining examples of intelligent pop songcraft. Human Hearts, their new fourth album and first release in almost four years, is no exception, and in fact may be their best work to date.

Given von Bohlen’s penchant for reinvention it’s no surprise that Human Hearts treads some new ground for Maritime. Most notably, it’s their first album whose production could accurately be described as lush. Perhaps it’s due to the warming weather, but I can’t help but classify it as a summer record, though not as a soundtrack to sunny, breezy days as much as sticky nights. The smooth, glossy feel of a song like the single “Paraphernalia” call to mind the nocturnal vibe of Minus the Bear’s Omni, though von Bohlen’s lispy bleat makes him sort of an anti-Jake Snider, the antithesis of sexy. However, the album does contain some of the finest vocal performances he’s done to date, particularly “Peopling of London”, a ballad so remarkably fluid and nuanced, it’s almost hard to believe this is the same idiosyncratic singer. While the difference is noteworthy throughout the album, the real draw remains the songs themselves. From bright, mid-tempo fare like “Annihilation Eyes” and “Apple of My Irony” to the almost darkpop-sounding “Black Bones” and “Out Numbering”, there’s not a skippable track on the set. At ten songs and a taut thirty-five minutes, it seems like that’s what they were going for. While that may be a blessing for the attention-deficit crowd, it seems at times like Maritime sell themselves a bit short. Hearing a song like “Faint of Hearts”, the album’s only five-minute tune, it’s easy to wish they allowed themselves the freedom to jam a little more often. Admittedly, there are a great many worse things you can say about an album than that it leaves you wanting more.

Now 35, von Bohlen continues to produce smart pop-rock songs and is showing no signs of slowing down. On Human Hearts’ closer “Apple of My Irony”, he sings “I’m growing lines around my eyes,” and “There’s no time to lose,” in a way that only someone who has watched his own youth flash by truly can. It’s easy to hope he maintains that sense of urgency well into the future. Nearly a decade ago, on Wood/Water, he laid before us all the reasons he should “Stop Playing Guitar”. Each new Maritime release offers more reasons to be thankful that he never did.

RIYLThe Promise Ring’s Wood/Water, Superdrag's Industry Giants, Nada Surf’s Lucky


Track Listing1. It’s Casual (2:46)
2. Paraphernalia (3:27)
3. Black Bones (2:53)
4. Peopling of London (3:05)
5. Air Arizona (3:10)
6. Faint of Hearts (5:11)
7. Annihilation Eyes (3:13)
8. Out Numbering (4:01)
9. C’mon Sense (3:29)
10. Apple of My Irony (4:10)


Preview/Buy the album at Amazon MP3.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 16
06:07 AM on 04/08/11
#2
Battery
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Such a good album. Love C'mon Sense and Black Bones. Good job on the review.
07:22 AM on 04/08/11
#3
Sikbeat37
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I've been listening to a lot of Maritime as of late, so I'm very excited for this. Solid review.
07:24 AM on 04/08/11
#4
Holly HoX!
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Hey Jeremy, I'm glad you reviewed this one. Haven't seen you around much recently. I can't wait to grab the record. I'm a huge TPR fan and anything Davey touches I'm a fan of. The guys are playing only a few shows in support of the album because of families and other grown-up obligations - one of which is in Minneapolis. Might have to check that out. Great review, as always. Keep yr eyes peeled for a new Jayhawks record later this year...
07:43 AM on 04/08/11
#5
Wutz
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I'm soooo mad about that June 4th Maritime show. I live 7 hours away and my wife and job are not about to let me see both Death Cab for Cutie May 21st and Maritime June 4th.

I'd have chosen Maritime for sure if it weren't for the fact that I already shelled out for the DCfC tickets which are non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-cheap.

Maritime's playing in the 7th St. Entry...it's going to be frickin' awesome and it's unfortunately not going to be on my list of stuff to do.

Either way, judging from the streams I've heard of this record, it's pretty awesome. I can't wait for it to show up at my house.
07:46 AM on 04/08/11
#6
Jeremy Aaron
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Hey Jeremy, I'm glad you reviewed this one. Haven't seen you around much recently. I can't wait to grab the record. I'm a huge TPR fan and anything Davey touches I'm a fan of. The guys are playing only a few shows in support of the album because of families and other grown-up obligations - one of which is in Minneapolis. Might have to check that out. Great review, as always. Keep yr eyes peeled for a new Jayhawks record later this year...
Thanks. I was de-commissioned for about nine months, but it's great to be back at it.

I had heard something about The Jayhawks reconvening, but didn't know they were recording. If albums were judged by the strength of their first three songs, Tomorrow the Green Grass might be the best ever. Needless to say, I'm anxious to hear what they have up their sleeves.
07:50 AM on 04/08/11
#7
Holly HoX!
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Thanks. I was de-commissioned for about nine months, but it's great to be back at it.

I had heard something about The Jayhawks reconvening, but didn't know they were recording. If albums were judged by the strength of their first three songs, Tomorrow the Green Grass might be the best ever. Needless to say, I'm anxious to hear what they have up their sleeves.

That's the buzz in the Cities - that they are, in fact, recording. I know Gary is playing the Golden Smog double show later in the month, so he is keeping busy regardless. It was amazing seeing the original lineup together again last fall. TTGG is hands down my favorite Jayhawks album followed closely by Hollywood Townhall.
08:54 AM on 04/08/11
#8
FUCKDIRTYWIPES
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I loved we, the vehicles but did not care for hersey...is this worth checking out??
09:10 AM on 04/08/11
#9
SmeezyBeezy
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Was unaware this was coming out, yessss.
10:51 AM on 04/08/11
collideoscopic
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Very nice review - I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said not only about the album, but TPR and Maritime as well. I will always hold a special place for pretty much anything Davey does after growing up with those Promise Ring records.
12:08 PM on 04/08/11
Lueda Alia
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I liked this album quite a bit. Need to listen to it more.
12:34 PM on 04/08/11
achassi
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Still need to listen to this.
08:14 PM on 04/08/11
troubledbyinsects
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I gotta get on this, oh man. Sounds great. I love Davey's work.
11:31 PM on 04/08/11
brenByah
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Need to check this out. On another note, I really like the album cover.
03:08 AM on 04/09/11
So-Crates
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Gonna check this out
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