The next step on from Beyond the Biosphere
--the self-financed debut album that brought brothers Christian and Justin Webb major-label attention and plaudits from the press and public--Maroon
is a relic of a bygone era when songs, not production tricks, were king, and melodies and words had more purpose than being just a pretty tune and something to sing along with it. The chugging pianos of "I Can't Believe You're Gone," the deadbeat guitars and self-depreciating lyrics of "The Liar's Club," and the somber lament of "All the Cocaine in the World, belong to some American road movie--capturing as they do the fears, realizations, and emotional turmoil of life. Sounds dour and depressing, but like Elliott Smith's, their melodies are too captivating and laced with too much deadpan humor to demoralize. For every sedate song, there's a rousing chorus, a samba intermission, or a stirring crescendo to lift the spirits. All these underutilized composer's tricks are enough to make one hallucinate that the Webb Brothers' music is in fact from a much-missed era, one that is well overdue a revival.