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Maritime
Heresy & The Hotel Choir
Flameshovel Records
www.maritimesongs.com


The folk rock/emo pop quartet from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Maritime have released their third installment, Heresy & The Hotel Choir. The album was produced by Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Modest Mouse) and released by Flameshovel Records. This time around lead vocalist/guitarist Davey von Bohlen and drummer Dan Didier, who were originally from the '90s alternative rock band The Promise Ring, join forces with guitarist Dan Hinz and bassist Justin Klug for a journey that takes them from the neo-folk paraglides of Chin Up Chin Up to the synth-textured pop glazes of The Chemical Brothers and the alternative country ambience of Jason Collett. Their melodies fluctuate between lo-fi, slow burning kindles to jangly midtempo numbers with country folk fields that recall of another Wisconsin favorite, Cedarwell, and the upbeat soft rock crescents of Stars, The Anniversary and, of course, The Promise Ring. In many ways, Maritime is an extension of what The Promise Ring started and could have become if the other members had held on like Didier and Bohlen.

The album starts off with a homey country folk vibe on "Guns Of Navarone." The music has a calming feel and wonderful harmonies which give the song a host of easy listening pleasantries. Following is a string of synth-textured romps with catchy hooks, lush melodic rock dynamics and gently pulsing rhythms reflective of The Kooks and Rooney as the album goes into "With Holes For Thumb Sized Birds," "For Science Fiction," and "Hand Over Hannover." Shimmering guitars resonate on "Peril" to form a series of sonic buttercups, and the emo-pop textures on "Pearl" glisten with new wave inflections like Simple Minds. The folk rock cadences of "Aren't We All Found Out" and "Hours That You Keep" have effects that share aspects with Jesse Malin, while the country flange on "Are We Renegade" has a campfire beating reminiscent of Buck McCoy. The lightly throbbing beats are hypnotic and row steadfast beneath the vocal melodies and roving guitar licks that cushion and fizzle. The upbeat soft pop chambers of "Be Unhappy" and "Love Has Given Up" has frothy melodic rock rotations while the country folk ballad "First Night On Earth" rocks like a lullaby drifting the listener off to dreamland.

One thing if for sure, Maritime spreads their wings on Heresy & The Hotel Choir. They aren't confined to one specific genre but play a number of styles and synthesize them to create easy listening hybrids. The album flashes from upbeat to mellow, always keeping the album moving. Maritime are slated to open shows for Jimmy Eat World in late 2007 and are presently on a club tour.

-Susan Frances


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