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PUPSCLUSIVE REVIEW: MARIANAS TRENCH “EVER AFTER”

Ever After - Marianas Trench
Release Date: November 21, 2011
Record Label: 604 Records
Reviewed by: Catherine Yi

For two years, music lovers all over the Internet have been raving about Masterpiece Theatre as one of the best pop rock records of all time. As Marianas Trench took off in Canada, they began to ease their way into American iPods as well, raising an extremely high bar for themselves as anticipation for their third album grew continent-wide. With the release of Ever After, it’s clear Marianas Trench are intent on making it into the American music scene.

The album opens similar to Masterpiece Theatre, with a six minute track full of synths, strings, and harmonizing vocals. The very first lyrics are fittingly “Once upon a time,” as Ever After is a story—an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque fairy tale about a man who wakes up in a strange land occupied by an evil queen running a toy factory in order to steal hearts. As always, lead singer Josh Ramsay’s vocals take the forefront, gliding easily through falsettos and gritty accents with impeccable intonation.

After an ambitious opening, the band jump right into their lead single, “Haven’t Had Enough,” no doubt the catchiest song on the album, and the most likely candidate to break into American airwaves. Already it’s obvious that the band is progressing towards a more polished, poppier sound, utilizing more synths than guitar. While the vocals are missing a lot of the edge they usually had on the previous singles, Josh thankfully uses the bridge to show why he’s possibly one of the most talented singers today, pushing his vocal chords as far as they will go.

The radio-friendly trend continues with the next track, “By Now,” a slower pop ballad with a strong R&B feel in the chorus. This is definitely one of their most mature songs to date. The band continue experimenting with this R&B touch in “Truth or Dare,” which features a verse dripping with Michael Jackson influences (Billie Jean anyone?) and an afterchorus that fans will either love or hate. Even if “Truth or Dare,” manages to alienate any listeners, however, they’re sucked right back in with “Desperate Measures,” one of the best songs on this record. Sounding like a Katy Perry song but with real instruments and better lyrics, it could do extremely well on radio as well as being a fan favorite at shows, with a chorus that will ring in your head for days.

“Fallout,” the second single follows soon after as another shot at radio.While a catchy, pleasing song with a sing-along chorus, the song seems to offer little variation throughout, both lyrically and musically. The next song, “Stutter,” however is an enjoyable pop rock song that will resonate most favorably with fans of the first album, featuring a looser, rougher arrangement with plenty of power chords and big, vibrant drums. “Toy Soldiers,” is a fun, dance song that actually reminds me of the likes of Usher and Taio Cruz, with a fist-pump worthy chorus. Fortunately, however, Josh still manages to let his voice shine naturally rather than coat it with effects. While some might frown upon such a blatant pop song, it’s undeniably catchy and already one of my guilty pleasures.

Ever After closes how it began—an epic six-minute track to sum up the entire album. What makes “No Place Like Home,” immensely enjoyable is that it’s a no-frills track, with little of the polished production applied to the rest of the album. It starts with Josh singing virtually a cappella, backed by just a thin layer of background vocals, before the drums kick in and the guitars lay down a riff that screams rock and roll. At the end of the day, the band wants to remind you that they are still just a rock band doing what they love.

Stripped of the myriad of producers that worked on Masterpiece TheaterEver After is probably the most honest, accurate interpretation of who Marianas Trench are. The production on this record is quite impressive, on Josh’s part, featuring a fantastic arrangement and perfect layering of the vocals and instrumentation. While some fans will lament the band’s growing departure from the rock sound of their first record, it’s impossible not to respect this band. First of all, they strove to create a continuous record (reaching almost an hour long) in order to combat the all too common practice of just buying one or two songs rather than the entire record. Second, Marianas Trench have once again proven they are incapable of making a song that isn’t catchy. Also, the band has managed to move towards a more mature, pop sound without sacrificing their musicianship. Other mainstream artists out there, take note: this is how pop music should be done.

★★★★ /★★★★★ 

Tracklisting:

  1. Ever After
  2. Haven’t Had Enough
  3. By Now
  4. Truth or Dare
  5. Desperate Measures
  6. Porcelain
  7. Fallout 
  8. Stutter
  9. Toy Soldiers
  10. B Team
  11. So Soon
  12. No Place Like Home
Marianas Trench is:
Josh Ramsay
Matt Webb
Mike Ayley
Ian Casselman 

 

»Nov. 22 @ 5:38PM | 127 notes
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    can NOT stop listening to this.
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    “Ever After is probably the most honest, accurate interpretation of who Marianas Trench are”
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    i am so proud of them.
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