Review Summary: Marriages finally release the charming rock record we always knew they were capable of.
With the onset of post-rock/metal's putrefaction, Marriages seem to have gotten out just in time. While the genre tag has always been really loose to begin with, one cannot deny the overt literal and thematic heaviness that the band has typically displayed. Winding passages thick with burning reverb have littered their short discography, while each song has slogged away murkily. Yet a lot has changed in the years since Marriages first made waves in 2012. But as they say, the more things change the more they stay the same, with the band doing just enough to move themselves in the right direction.
is actually the debut album of Marriages. That's right, nearly three years after their first EP Kitsune
the LA trio have finally made honest go of it, and as expected, it's a charmer. They've cleaned things up a bit, polishing the buffeted surface and sanding the jagged edges. While still milking the shoegazing sound which defined Kitsune
, Marriages have scaled it back a bit. In fact, just about everything has been scaled back: the heaviness, the thick atmosphere, and the psychedelic leanings. It's all been reigned in, for better and worse. Instead of a ballooning cauldron of haze and aimless guitar, Salome
is a neatly wrapped package. Clear and definable, Marriages have made a quirky little rock album that houses the spirit of their earlier material, but with a clean-cut translation of everything they've been attempting to do. Because of this, the band have never felt more tribal. Vocalist Emma Ruth Rundle, for the first time, is perfectly audible. She gives the album its earthy, powerful drive that taps into something almost primal. Sounding like Grace Slick by way of something more occult, Rundle's dark contralto is a sure standout. In order to hear all of this however, Marriages had to turn everything down a notch. The oppressive guitar heard on their debut is much more understated here. While it is wonderful to hear this band firing on all cylinders for the first time ever, the "under water" sound from their debut EP gave the work a certain allure.
It matters very little at the end of the day, though, because Salome
is a success through and through. Marriages tweaked every facet of their sound to give birth to something entrancing and digestible. No track wanders along aimlessly or over stays its welcome, as Salome
is a perfectly constructed rock record. At times beautiful while at other times eerie, this is a debut not to be missed.