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Marriages - Kitsune

Swooshgazer   (7 reviews)

Posted: 03/31/2014 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

With only one EP under their collective belt and exactly one trek of the proper (read: beyond the state of California) United States, it would be easy to label Los Angeles' dreampop three-piece Marriages as yet another upstart act in the shoegaze revival of the current decade. The reality, of course, is that vocalist/guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle and bassist Greg Burns have both spent the better part of their lives toiling around with some rather notable acts, culminating in their work with post-rock innovators Red Sparowes.

Those who listened to Marriages' six song debut "Kitsune" in passing were quick to write the act off as little more than an offshoot of their previous collective. Indeed, Marriages originally consisted of wholly RS members, but the comparisons end there for those with two fully functioning ear drums. Marriages manages to cover more musical ground in less than 30 minutes than their counterparts (including their assumed now former band) have in multiple albums. Where most of the nugaze movement finds itself preoccupied with full blown audial assaults and deafening crescendos, "Kitsune" instead presents a seamless and swelling narrative. The record flows as a complete piece, with introductory tracks "Ride in My Place" and "Body of Shade" transitioning instantaneously from one to the latter before cascading into the haunting "Ten Tiny Fingers", a slowly bubbling cauldron of distorted bass that features a four note synth lead catchy enough to drive a man headfirst into a sunn o))) record.

Rundle's vocals command "Kitsune", floating in and out of the mix delicately without resting comfortably in the background behind an immense wall of reverb and delay. For what the album lacks in soaring vocal harmonies, it makes up for in pure melody. These are pop songs, at their very core, and never noisy for the sake of being noisy. Transitionary interlude "Pelt" is the exception, with its sweeping bass picking and ear piercing feedback serving as an interlude to the sonic bombast of "White Shape". "Part the Dark Again" serves as both a decrescendo to the EP and a hint of future material, hanging onto its melody before ending on an almost unresolved note that still disagrees with this reviewer's ear for theory.

Social media suggests Marriages are close to the finish line for the follow up to "Kitsune", with all signs pointing towards a proper full length. If the band is willing to put in the legwork on the road, as they've done briefly in the past with Deafheaven and Nothing, they are poised to become the darlings of the new scene that celebrates itself.

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