Review Summary: With Ever After, Canada's Marianas Trench join the ranks of pop-rock acts Green Day and My Chemical Romance to successfully bring a theatrical epic destined to reign supreme in the ears of all mainstream audiences, fans, and critics alike.
All the things that would seemingly sink this fu
ckin' ship into the water for any other band: stark studio prevalence – a swabbing of strings, digital effects, vocal tampering, and even more strings; a more pop-oriented bend from Marianas Trench – every song here can be a single, and a damn successful one too; and lastly Josh Ramsay's vocals in general – the guy's voice is so sugary sweet it almost isn't even suitable to lead a pop-rock act.
Yet Ever After
is indubitably Marianas Trench's best album.
runs through its fifty-minute play time like a pop-music freight train, the likes of which we haven't heard from a pop-rock band since My Chemical Romance
's The Black Parade
in 2006. It's almost like all The Cab
's excesses heard earlier this year on their Symphony Soldier
are smoothed out and kept in line with their target by the keen sights of a melodic craftsman such as the likes of One Republic
's Ryan Tedder, or something. As far as pop rock goes in 2011, you will not find better songwriting anywhere else.
Continuing the path taken by the Canadians on their last 2009 release, Masterpiece Theatre
, Marianas Trench start Ever After
with a multi-part epic in its title track, mixing a memorable key melody with that of vocal, instrumental melodies and harmonies taken from the proceeding tracks to come later on during the album. With a keen sense of finesse, the band creeps in synth pulses to flawlessly lead into the album's lead single, “Haven't Had Enough”, an effort that was first off-putting to many fans given the band's past reliance on distorted guitars.
But here's something you'll learn about Marianas Trench while enjoying the near-flawless pop tracks of Ever After
ck distortion. They should be a pop band; they have never sounded more comfortable in an element before. And even if the rock-outs are few and far in between, the strength of the surrounding songwriting is more than enough to justify the stadium-size reception the album is likely to receive in the coming months. Not since Fall Out Boy
's Infinity On High
has pop rock been so fun and consistent
The use of the “Oh, Oh, Oh”(s) is a cliché practice in pop rock, and few bands can really do it well anymore. But, indeed, Marianas Trench have proven to be one of them: “Desperate Measures” and “Stutter” are going to be massive hits, already both housing addictive-as-hell choruses to begin with. These fu
ckin' harmonies are ingenious and are the output of master pop craftsmen. “By Now” hits like Fall Out Boy
's “This Ain't a Scene, It's An Arms Race” in ballad-form, Ramsay riding a repetive synth note like a boss: “Sometimes the one you want is not the one you need / What goes around don't come around.”
“Porcelain” is Marianas Trench's successful shot at Coldplay
's “Fix You”, “B Team” the band's declarative statement of more or less being
the new Fall Out Boy
in sound and composition – Ever After
is just fu
cking unstoppable. “No Place Like Home” closes the album in a similar fashion to which it was opened, quoting key sections of the hit-in-the-making, just like all the other songs, “Truth or Dare”.
The story behind Ever After
follows a man who wakes up in a mysterious land where an evil queen is trying to still hearts, or something like that – hence a song title like “Toy Soldiers”. But really, just like My Chemical Romance
's recent back stories, you need not pay the story any mind. A common theme merely helps the album flow in and out of itself perfectly; lyrically, this is still about relationship matters, and you could easily listen to the whole thing over and over and never get any hint of a story.
But that's okay, as where the music is concerned, Marianas Trench nail it home just about perfectly on Ever After
. Take this as you will, but if they keep it up we may indeed have the next Fall Out Boy
on our hands. It will be interesting to see just how far this band will go.