Marianas Trench

Ever After

Written by: TL on 09/01/2012 16:48:09

One of the records I was looking forward to the absolute most in 2011 was the third LP from Canadian pop/punk/rock sensation Marianas Trench, whose criminally underrated sophomore album "Masterpiece Theatre" completely blew my mind some two years ago. And yes, I realise it sounds weird calling an album underrated that certified platinum and sold over 80.000 copies, but really , in my optics "Masterpiece Theatre" was so well endowed in both the category of being super accessible AND the category of being super-mega-frickin' awesome that I am absolutely flabbergasted by the fact that Marianas Trench are not Black Veil Brides famous right now.

If these four dudes are meeting some resistance however, I guess it could be because they are so absolutely unashamedly pop, as evidenced by "Masterpierce Theatre" making no bones about its ambitions of accessibility, and cemented by main man Josh Ramsay admitting prior to the new "Ever After" - the band's third on Chad Kroeger's (yes that guy) label 604 Records - that it would intentionally lean even more over into pop. To let that offend a sense of elitism though, and deter you from listening to this band is just flat out stupid, because in Ramsay the Canadian music scene has produced a talent that looks like Pete Wentz, sings like Brendon Urie (okay maybe better) and composes like Patrick Stump (okay, maybe better!). He even produced this damn record as well (and the production is stellar). So I repeat: HOW is this band not My Chemical Romance-snowballing right now? I just don't get it!?

Even more puzzling is the fact that "Ever After" offers no clues as to what the hold up is either. Granted, noticing the scaled back prominence of guitar and the back and forth between ballads and bouncy beats, it would be tempting to just write this off as a straight up pop-record, but it'd be a terrible injustice, because what it really is, is another master-crafted symphony of all the most devilishly catchy elements from pop-punk, emo and pop. Oh and it's a concept record as well, with a whole fairy tale embedded in the lyrics which can also easily double individually, as pointed little tales of heartbreak.

The point here is, that while this is in a sense a pop-record, the level of depth is from an entirely different planet compared to your average chart-candidates, both when it comes to lyrics, but more so when it comes to creativity and composition. This is most apparent in opener "Ever After", middle track "Porcelain" and closer "No Place Like Home", which - similarly to the three title tracks on "Masterpiece Theatre" - serve to both bind the record together thematically, but also to show off Ramsay's composition when it is at its absolutely most overblown and epic. The sheer wealth of different rhythms, melodies and elements that come together seamlessly and with huge dramatic effect in these songs is staggering, and I can't help but to think that if this had been any less outrageously ambitious band, somewhere along the line, someone would have said "dudes, this is is too much, the casual listeners won't get this", but Marianas Trench have ignored all warning lights and composed something that works anyway and works wonders.

As such, there are a myriad of flourishes that begs noticing and mentioning on this record, ranging from Queen-ish mega-compositions, over your average assortment of dramatic horns and strings, indulgent Ke$ha-style video-game electronics, to stunningly captivating harmonies consisting solely of layers of Ramsay's sampled vocals. Looking past the most progressive cuts, especially "Truth Or Dare" is an irresistible attention-grabber with its cheeky vocal samples and aggressive Michael Jackson-ish vibe, while "Stutter" has the kind of brazen and annoying hook that gets you singing along despite yourself, and "Toy Soldiers" will likely see hundreds of fans dancing and jumping up and down to its bouncy chorus when played live in future shows. Furthermore, Ramsay gets to show his immaculate skills as a singer and ballad-writer on the super-sentimental, no-holds-barred heart-wrencher "Too Soon", which should go down a treat with anyone with a weakness for conventional tear jerkers.

My sole complaints about "Ever After" is the absence of at least a few proper guitar rock tracks, the kind of which were after all present on "Masterpiece Theatre". That and the placement of ballad "By Now" already at track three, seeing as it is probably the one song that is the is most likely to be called too corny, and hence feels a little in the way of better songs to come. Those aren't likely to be the reason if Marianas Trench don't grow exponentially, because while I have feigned ignorance, I do of course suspect that the reason some might have trouble getting into them, is that it can be hard to identity with something as wildly overblown as this is. To those people I ask you, please, see past whether or not this aligns with whatever lofty standards you have for whether something appeals to you or not - Look past that, engage your capacity for guilty pleasures if you must, and try to recognise that there's truly no other band around, which juggles emo, pop and rock with both such masterful skill and such childish playfulness. If you like music for music, I simply don't see how this cannot appeal to you.


Download: Truth Or Dare, Ever After, Stutter, Toy Soldiers, So Soon
For The Fans Of: Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Pierce The Veil, Forgive Durden, Say Anything.. all arranged in a symphony also featuring elements from Queen, Ke$ha, Michael Jackson, just to name a few

Release Date 21.11.2011
604 Records

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