Album Review: Marianas Trench – Astoria

After what seemed to many to be four excruciatingly long years, Canadian pop rock quartet Marianas Trench are back! After the release of their last album, Ever After, the group went on extensive tours, released five extremely popular singles, and even helped out a fellow canuck (as is the Canadian way), Carly Rae Jepsen rise to fame with Marianas vocalist providing his songwriting abilities for the track “Call Me Maybe”. With Jepsen’s track topping all charts, record labels took notice of Josh Ramsay’s writing and producing abilities which lead to them signing with American label Cherrytree Records. In 2013 the polite musical hosers went back into the studio and after what could only be assumed to be many long nights of sticky instruments (due to copious amounts of maple syrup consumption) being played and replayed, they finally created the masterpiece Astoria. The title of the album, the artwork were directly inspired by the 1985 cult hit The Goonies. The band even went as for to call their 2015 tour “Hey You Guys!!” (as hollered by the ever lovable Sloth in the flick). Let me tell you there’s plenty of ditties on this record that’ll have you doing the “Truffle Shuffle”

The album starts of with the eponymous title track, “Astoria”. Clocking in at 6 minutes and 58 seconds, it’s quite the monster of a song to begin with. These Canadian lads know how to do it big though. The song has a myriad of effects and elements to it with the usage of soothing synthesizers, uplifting guitars and perfectly plucked bass, drums played with such precision, and even a hint of orchestral touches added in for perfect measure. The song starts off as what one would consider a pop driven alternative rock song, but a few minutes it has an almost R&B tinge to it with Ramsay even singing in a falsetto like tone, and then switches genres again to what sounds like an outro to a 1980’s Eagles rock ballad with keyboards, continuous group singing, and some epic rock’n’roll yells. Lyrically the song pertains to the subject of love. It can be the “wind beneath your wings”, it can beat you down, and you can find it in all the wrong places. Ramsay even relates to it in a tongue-and-cheek manner with the words “I shoulda known you’re not alone when you take somebody home, and the little deaths are a little less even if just for a moment. On a good day I’m the bad news for the wrong girl with the right wounds. Hey, lets all say fuck it. I’m gonna make my mother so proud of it”

“Burning Up” is a song that almost sounds like it could make Prince proud. The groovy guitar riffs, a rhythmic 1-2 drum pattern, low and (very) high-pitched vocals literally had me bobbing my head and swaying my shoulders in rhythmic euphoria. The lyrical content which eludes to Ramsay knowing an ex may still carry some red-hot feelin’s is something most could relate to, which just adds to the fun value this track carries so well.

“Yesterday” can be simply summed up like this: it could have fit perfectly in the opening credits for any 70’s or 80’s family friendly comedy movie. It is intoxicatingly danceable. The lyrics “Could be a party, let’s dance” excite and thrill me because I LOVE to party AND dance! For these three simple yet important reasons, this song is one of the most lively and enjoyable on the entire LP.

“One Love” was the initial single and for good reason. This song shows a different side of the band, delving further into the emotion of love than ever before. This song is the truest form of a rock ballad with its grandiose structuring of the instruments and the poetic words put forth by Ramsay (some of his best writing yet). “Now I wake up and I forget that you were gone. A phantom limb is all that I am hanging on. So don’t stop, no stopping it yet. What if the one true love’s the only one that you get? And you’ve been wishing but you don’t know how to stay, and I’ve been broken but I’m better every day. So don’t stop, no stoppin’ it yet. What if the one true love’s the only one that you get?” Upon hearing that chorus for the first time I almost felt a catch in my throat and a tear fall down my cheek all because I realized this is a reflection I’ve had myself. Vocally this song has some of the sweetest tones and sounds to ever leave the lips of Josh Ramsay.

Marianas Trench – One Love (Lyric Video)

Music video by Marianas Trench performing One Love. (C) 2015 Interscope Records (Cherrytree Records) #MarianasTrench #OneLove #Vevo #Pop #VevoOfficial #lyricvideo

“This Means War” continues the poppy, radio-friendly, dance rock as the previous tracks through the verses, but brings a more alternative element to the chorus. Instrumental wise they add something new to the mix with a xylophone. Simplistic in nature, but integral to the overall feel of the song.

The album is a long one. This is NOT a bad thing. With seventeen tracks (four of which being interludes that actually feel perfectly placed and entirely appropriate) it’s a whopping 54 minutes and 44 seconds, so there’s no fears of the enjoyment ending before it even begins. Overall it feels like the boys from up north we’re aiming to have people shakin’ their groove thang with this release. They have the sad ballads, the wishful pop rock tunes, and even an acoustic track, but for the most part it’s dance floor ready songs that seem to be the heart and soul. I am not ashamed to say I believe this is their best work yet for multiple reasons. Lyrically and vocally Josh Ramsay has never been better. You can tell the pen to paper process was not rushed and in actuality he poured blood, sweat, and tears into every written word. Matt Webb (lead Guitar), Mike Ayley (bass), and Ian Casselman (drums) couldn’t get any better. With perfect timing, sound, and feel coming from all the instruments, you can tell they all wanted to take it to a whole new level. Go pick up this record, press play and get ready to laugh, cry, and dance till your legs and lungs give out. Astoria is a must listen from the maple leaf representing boys in Marianas Trench.

Marianas Trench – The Making Of Astoria

Music video by Marianas Trench performing The Making Of Astoria. (C) 2015 Interscope Records (Cherrytree Records) #MarianasTrench #TheM…

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