Marianas Trench

Masterpiece Theatre

Written by: TL on 07/10/2010 17:03:07

Okay so here's an album that would contend for my Album of the Year list, if it wasn't for the fact that it actually came out last year. Screw that though, I'm going to give it a review anyway, just so you guys can know about it. The band responsible for it are Marianas Trench, a four-piece from Vancouver, and the record is "Masterpiece Theatre", the second LP of their career.

Now, I feel obliged to disclose that this is the kind of band whose frontman sports a blue-striped emo haircut, and who have been signed to 604 Records, the label of Nickelback's frontman Chad Kroeger, since before they'd even released a single album. I know, I know, if you know what's good for you, that should have you running for the hills, but I would advice differently, because doing so would mean you're missing out on one of the most exciting pop/punk/rock record of recent years.

I'm serious. Forget about the latest records from scene leaders All Time Low, Fall Out Boy and You Me At Six. By taking the good old pop-punk skeleton (think Green Day) and building it up with several elements that recall the best traditions from within classic rock, pop and musicals, Marianas Trench have produced an album that should have you as excited as you were when you heard the first records by Panic At The Disco or The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

Imagine Queen(or fun.)-esque backing choirs, Beach Boys-like harmonies, Wham-"Wake me up before you go go"-ish snap/clap rhythms skillfully introduced to soaring pop-punk tunes of a quality comparable to Yellowcard's legendary "Ocean Avenue" and you should be closing in on what's going on, but the truth is that there's no use trying to line this band up with any one other band you know, because they're simply of the kind who manage to add things up into a sound that's entirely their own.

So how about you just listen to the record, and give a chance to up-beat electrifiers like "Cross My Heart" or "Celebrity Status", driving anthems like "Acadia", theatrical roller-coaster rides like the three-part "Masterpiece Theatre" or super-sentimental cuts like "Lover Dearest"? How about you notice the superbly versatile, articulate and charismatic vocal performance of main man Josh Ramsay? And while you're at it, make sure you appreciate the development over the course of the three parts of "Masterpiece Theatre", which divide and bookend the record, picking up parts from each of the other songs to form an impressive climax at the end.

Okay, so to be fair Marianas Trench might not be for everyone. This is an over-the-top band who fire on all guns, trying to wind the listener up in pop-rockers of such dramatic scale, that people who like music with a firm footing on planet earth, might take issue, especially with rare moments of extreme excess (such as the really sharp "woah-oh" croon in "Sing Sing"). In all honesty however, I can't help but to shrug and mumble the words "their loss" to myself, for the truth is that it has been a long time since I have been as excited about music as I've been since first hearing "Masterpiece Theatre". And if you look at this review and don't find that I've used sufficient hyperbole to justify the soaring grade, just know that I'm deliberately trying to undersell this record, so that if you do give it a chance, you might have as positive a surprise as I had. All killer, no filler. Enough said.


Download: Cross My Heart, Acadia, Celebrity Status, Lover Dearest, Masterpiece Theatre I
For The Fans Of: fun.; All Time Low; The Classic Crime; The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; timeless, unashamed, over-the-top pop-rock

Release Date 24.02.2009
604 Records

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