Marriages is a band consisting of Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle (vocals, guitar), Greg Burns (bass, synthesizer) and Dave Clifford (drums). This debut EP is an earthy slice of spacey gaze, a seemingly hard feat to for people from a jamming post rock group to accomplish. Successfully tackling a genre similar to their other project is no easy task for band-mates with a shared background. The musicians can be taking all their unused concepts of off the drawing board, yet there can exist a large disparity between the perceptions of the audience and of the artists. While a musician will swear that they are doing something new, to the average listener it may seem like a simple rehash or b-side from the other project. With this EP however, Marriages avoid that pitfall and create a sound that is quite unique in and of itself.
The undercurrent of Kitsune
is one that is incredibly organic, gorgeous and green. Dreamy reverb and distortion complement the grounded snares. An entourage of backing synth-work serve to layer the aural canopy while thundering bass guitar fills the forest air. The bass remains at all times distinct, and lays roots for the other elements to grow. While all these components swirl about, Emma's breathy vocals softly float alongside them like a zephyr. Her murmuring vocals in Body of Shade
move from the forefront of the song to the border, taunting the edges of the listener's perception. She acts a compelling and emotional guide through the, at times very hazy, forest presented. There are no out-of-place structures to be conscious of while listening to this record, no inconsistencies worthy of reprimand. As it is listened to, it draws the victim into a beautifully sketched landscape with no line left unconnected.
Unfortunately, the EP slightly falters when it comes to its second half. While not outright bad, two arrangements found here are a bit lacking. They are not exactly pieces one would choose to listen to outside of the full 26 minute listen. Pelt
comes off as an experimental interlude which, although it keeps the tone that Marriages have set, is arguably not something that is needed for such a short record. Whereas White Shape
falls down the rabbit hole that the rest of the album manages to avoid, and is essentially just a middling 3 minutes of Red Sparowes. Judging these songs outside the context of the album seems like unwarranted nitpicking; the entire work flows graciously and seems to be a one gigantic number. Yet the quality of the other tracks are so above and beyond these two, and they shine by themselves when taken out of context. It comes down to what the listener is looking for in this record, a half hour opus or a collection of songs. The truth is that if they seek the latter, there are some flaws to be found. However, there is no denying the overall trip is one that is a lush, comforting way to lose oneself.
This effort is marked by how seamlessly all the parts intertwine and cascade. The songs peacefully blur into each other with uncompromising resolve. The result? A lightly psychedelic, heavily entrancing mash of space rock and shoegaze conducted to near perfection.It's releases like this one that defy the very term of “side project”, as this EP deserves to be performed on the main stage.