“Salome” Marriages

Marriages

Salome Album Review

Sargent House

Released April 7, 2015

Genre: Alternative Rock, Post Rock, Noise Rock, Experimental Rock, Shoegaze, Darkwave

Emma Ruth Rundle‘s voice is a marvel. Her challenge? To utilize her pristine and captivating voice to stand out – and accentuate – the noisy, fuzzy, and breathtaking band that is known as Marriages. Rundle’s voice contrasted with the fuzzy guitars, wailing solos, busy drums, and dark themes provide a compelling contrast that makes this band’s latest release, Salome, a hard album to slip past you this year. The LA-based band’s “post-rock” genre designation may generalize the band into one genre, but that doesn’t stop them from flailing around the music spectrum with grace and precision. Because of this, Salome is an incredibly confident album, confident to take on many genres at the same time without messing up; and able to please metal-heads, stoners, hipsters, and the occasional pop fan alike. There’s the catchy hooks that pop fans MUST have, the dense and heavy riffs of a metal fan, and the hazy production and obscure lyricism that can (and will) please stoners. Open your mind, and there’s something for everyone here.

With all this being said, Salome is a wonder of its own in another way: it never feels clumsy or indulgent. It dips into each genre/sub genre enough to make a fan happy and carefully executes fresh and creative ideas with skill, grace, and ease. The guitar riffs on here are reminiscent of some The Cranberries’ early stuff; with those fuzzy bass grooves and Rundle’s high voice, the similarity is uncanny. The opening track “The Liar” is a propulsive song, led by slide guitar solos, noisy digressions, and kinetic drumming reminiscent of Glenn Kotche. “Skin” follows through, carrying on similar traits while also pushing the album forward. Other tracks like the hellish “Binge”, the pensive title track, and the inherently stellar “Love, Texas” testify to the strengths that this album has. Any faults found here, if any, can be attributed to the bloated “Southern Eye” which feels longer than it should be – but in the end, it’s a small detail that can easily be overshadowed by Rundle’s pained vocals.

The album’s title takes its name from the historical figure who requested John the Baptist’s head on a platter. So just from that, and the slightly disturbing yet memorable cover art, you know you’re in for a fascinating yet dark odyssey. Despite being the band’s most musically diverse album, it’s also their least accessible one. The hazy atmosphere, distant vocals, and layers upon layers of sounds, instruments, and reverb will no doubt make this album a challenging yet intriguing listen. I praise this album for its cohesiveness as each track effortlessly segues into the next one, stylistically not literally, providing an experience that feels like one long dark journey charged with brilliance. Salome is gorgeous yet dark, distant yet honest, and all together foreboding. What we have is an impressive debut that can only spell greatness for the band, who shine the light for modern underground rock amongst numerous other bands out there. Salome is just like its title figure: hauntingly beautiful, and all together inviting – but obscured by its beauty is a dark force that is waiting to be unlocked, and I can’t wait ’till it’s unleashed.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: The Liar, Skin, Santa Sangre, Binge, Salome, Love, Texas, Contender

LEAST FAV TRACK: Southern Eye (sorta)

SCORE: (8.4/10)

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