Review Summary: Regardless of your genre preferences, you owe this band a listen.
When was the last time you heard an album so emotionally engaging and touching that you could remember exactly what you were doing every time you listened to it? When was the last time you were able to interpret so much meaning in an artist's lyrics? For me, the answer is 2007's 'Marriage' by Canadian band, Attack In Black. The first time I heard the album I was at a point where it seemed that the whole alt/indie genre was being swept into a wave of genericness. I was on the verge of giving into it until I heard "Young Leaves" at a friends request. I was instantly blown away by the song, it took no getting used to whatsoever. There is no easy way to justify such a bold opening other than sending you on a field trip down to your local record store to pick up the album.
Marriage kicks off with the passionate and well written track ‘Come What May.’ The listener will already have a good idea what their in for as my personal favorite, ‘Young Leaves‘ follows on the second track. The catchy chorus is sure to have you singing along the first or second time you hear it. The whole album takes a balladic approach, where sweet melody and metaphorical lyrics are at the centre. Singer Daniel Romano's voice is beautiful in its own scratched way, still full of melody and emotion. He doesn't need to scream to show his passion, it transfers through his laid back singing perfectly.
Romano is not afraid to break out of his comfort zone however. Tracks like ‘Marriage’ and ‘Broken Things’ showcase his ability to venture into the “punk-rock” zone vocal wise and execute it well. This might have to do with the fact that Attack In Black used to be a straight up punk band.
The instrumental work is nothing short of astounding. It’s rare to come across an unknown band that manages to release a tight and well produced record such as this one. It’s like somewhere along the line when the band was writing this record, something clicked, because how else would you explain the beautiful pianos and chords of 'Inches And Ages' and its folk-rock / country sound that's perfectly fitted into their albums overall sound.
The lyrics not only get your hair to stand up on end but also make you think with thoughtful verses such as: “What if there’s a footprint, I left a life ago.”
The albums epic, 'Chimes And Church Bells' closes the album in perfect Attack In Black fashion. The lyrics are poetry at it’s finest.
“But I've heard of hope in faceless men
I know I'll never meet
I've heard of life in those who love so effortlessly
Who live forever in a state of vulnerability
To leave behind for those they've loved
A lot of time to weep”
Tracks like the slower 'If All I Thought Were True' show that the band can really do whatever they want but still make it work with the album overall feel. 'Footprints' features the albums most metaphoric lyrical work and a simple but catchy acoustic and steel guitar. Nearing the end of the song, it bursts into the strange folk-punk sound that Attack In Black is well known for.
There is something special about Marriage that is hard to explain in words. It could be the unique blend of folk, punk and country that remind me of the now defunct, Uncle Tupelo
. It could be the fact that every few months when I give the album a spin, I still manage to find new aspects to it. It could also be the fact that I am dumbfounded in stating the albums genre, as you probably noticed throughout the review, there is just a little bit of everything.
The best way for you to find out for sure is to listen to it. Regardless of your genre preference, Marriage is sure to hit home but beware, the album will be hard to top.