Davey von Bohlen has been making music long enough to know how to do it right—and I'm not just saying that because I have a goofy schoolgirl crush on his dreamy voice and adorable slight lisp. He founded the Promise Ring—a band near and dear to many an emo kid's heart—in 1995, but I didn't begin to appreciate the band until long after their demise. I always wrote them off as boring and overly emotional. The one chance I gave them was when I listened to a friend's copy of 30 Degrees Everywhere after a couple classmates hyped it up as being incendiary. I yawned, unimpressed.
Years later, I was reintroduced to the band via their breakthrough sophomore record, Nothing Feels Good. As opening track "Is This Thing On?" blasted from a friend's car stereo, I immediately started bopping my head without knowing who was playing and gasped when my friend (knowing full well I didn't like the Promise Ring) grinned and told me who it was. It's been a favorite ever since.
Nothing Feels Good came out a decade ago, and the Promise Ring may be long over, but for the past four years von Bohlen and PR bandmate Dan Didier have been funneling their years of experience into a different project: Maritime.
While Maritime's first two records (2004's Glass Floor and 2006's We the Vehicles) don't stand up to Promise Ring's beloved Nothing Feels Good album, it'd be unfair to expect them to. They're a different band with their own vibe, and they wear their age and experience well, sticking to a clean and classic pop sound that's rejuvenated with von Bohlen's wistful croon and guitars that beam with a little extra indie jangle. And unlike some aging "emo" stars, the men in Maritime have moved past adolescent heartbreak and the bad habit of dwelling on negative feelings.
This week, the band releases their new full-length, Heresy and the Hotel Choir, and they continue to successfully follow their familiar formula. We the Vehicles always sparkled, and Heresy does, too (especially on the track "Love Has Given Up"), but while Vehicles had a mellower sound (even when energy picked up), Heresy finds time to rock. "For Science Fiction" has a chorus more explosive than any other Maritime song, and it comes with a dirty, toe-tappin' bass line and some well-placed synth flourishes that the band never experimented with in the past.
They're just as bright and clean live, too—their layers of catchy melodies will no doubt sound fantastic echoing through the Showbox at the Market when they open for Jimmy Eat World on Thursday, October 11. Jimmy Eat World might be headlining the show, but Maritime threatens to steal it.