Marmozets, Life on Standby, Boy Jumps Ship – Stereo Cafe, Glasgow

by Gary Marshall

There’s a cliché that says there are just two types of music, good and bad. The cliché is wrong. There are three kinds of music: good music, bad music and unremarkable music.

Unremarkable music isn’t necessarily bad music; it can be cleverly written and beautifully played and still lack that vital spark; the secret sauce that differentiates great bands from merely good ones.

Marmozets have that spark, but their support does not.

The sky's the limit for Marmozets. Wrote our caption writer before we sacked him. Image by Ben Parks

The sky’s the limit for Marmozets, wrote our caption writer before we sacked him. Image by Ben Parks

Life On Standby and Boy Jumps Ship are very fine at what they do – female-fronted emo-rock with nods to Hot Fuss-era Killers and chest-beating terrace anthems recalling Futureheads, Jimmy Eat World and The Ruts respectively – but while both bands are technically impressive and play with passion they’re lacking that special something.

That something may well be Becca MacIntyre, one part Willow-off-Buffy, one part Janis Joplin – screamo growling one minute and hitting high pitched vibrato notes the next. The Bingley based Marmozets’ charismatic singer may have been disappointed by the relatively empty room – a room that wasn’t huge to begin with – but she didn’t let it show, leading the impossibly young band through the kind of performance you’d expect to see headlining a festival instead of bouncing around a Glaswegian basement like a bunch of punk rock Tiggers.

There are weaknesses. Listen to the angsty, simplistic lyrics and Becca’s youth shows through. But when a band has energy and tunes like this, you can wait for the growing up that will season their songs in future.

MacIntyre is magnetic, both visually and vocally, and when the music is as compelling as she is – such as recent hardcore-with-harmonies singles Move Shake Hide and Why Do You Hate Me? – it’s hard to imagine Marmozets playing in venues this small for much longer.

That’s a shame, because they end the night with the entire band, drums and all, down among the crowd. We’ll miss that.