Human Hearts

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You know a band is confident about their album when they put what is perhaps the catchiest track on the disc at the very end because the album is just that good. Such is the case with Maritime and their 2011 album Human Hearts. While the band has been making epically good indie rock albums since 2004's Glass Floor, Human Hearts is the kind of end-to-end solid album that most bands strive for, rarely attain, and usually only achieve once in their career, with track after track of immediately addictive, sparklingly produced, and emotionally heartfelt pop. Centered around singer/songwriter Davey von Bohlen, Maritime's yearning, melodic guitar pop is not unconnected to the literate emo-rock von Bohlen built his early career on as the lead singer of the Promise Ring. The difference is the maturity of his songcraft. Tracks like the shoegazey lead-off "It's Casual" and the driving "Paraphernalia" mix burnished electric guitar with crisp, dance-rock drum beats that bring to mind a deft mix of the more pop-leaning Wish-era the Cure and the serpentine, moody guitar rock of Built to Spill. Elsewhere, cuts like "Air Arizona," "Annihilation Eyes" and "Apple of My Irony" (That last catchy track!) marry jangly, classicist guitar pop with a sweeping, modern rock uplift. Even the more noir-ish moments, such as the insistent "Faint of Hearts" start slow, but really grab you; by the end of the song, as von Bohlen desperately croons, "All I ever wanted is here in my arms" against a swirling rage of guitars, all you want to do is sink deeper and deeper into your headphones, drowning yourself in agreement.

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