Dan Didier and Davey von Bohlen have been playing music together for 20 years now. More than half of that time has been spent with Maritime, though between 2011’s gorgeously down-the-middle Human Hearts and the thoughtful, tuneful new Magnetic Bodies/Maps Of Bones, they took a little trip down memory lane by reuniting their old band, The Promise Ring. I haven’t asked them, and I’m not sure how they’d feel about this theory, but I think some of that reunion-inspired energy found its way into the Maritime practice space, when they rejoined guitarist Dan Hinz and bassist Justin Klug to work on Maritime album number five.
After the slick pop peak of Human Hearts—which followed the ambitious Heresy And The Hotel Choir—this one feels a little more risky, a little weirder, a little more oblique in its sentiment but nonetheless purposeful. Von Bohlen’s words, especially, are back to their old impressionism: I don’t know what “I wasn’t born / You just wrote me in” means and yet I sort of do, once he sings it enough times. I hear pathos one minute and unbridled joy another. I hear The Cure on the intro to “Satellite Love” and Built To Spill in “Inside Out.” I hear things I’ve never heard on a Maritime record, and some things that I have, all of it great.
On “Roaming Empire,” Davey claims, like so many before him, that he knew more then than he does now, but it’s never that simple. With Magnetic Bodies/Maps Of Bones, Maritime feels younger than its years, and yet in full possession of its own hard-won wisdom and experience. It feels like a band with nothing to prove, but that’s going to prove it anyway.