Featured: Deception (EP)
Another requested review here! Marstone are a modern alternative/psychedelic rock band from Solihull, Birmingham. With their debut single only being released last year the band are already gaining a tonne of momentum, playing huge shows and tours across the UK supporting the likes of The Barrattes and The Last Internationale. They have continued a steady, consistent output of music throughout this year despite the state of the country, with three singles and a four track EP. It is the said EP that I shall be reviewing today, so let’s see what they’re like!
Deceptive Fix opens on a heavy, grungy guitar chord progression before exploding into the main groove of the song. While it still sounds heavy, the pop/punk influences are apparent, sounding slightly reminiscent of Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta during the awesome higher guitar riff. It drops down into the verse and sounds massively punky, the guitar dropping out and leaving a low driving bassline and solid drum work. The vocals are perfectly delivered to match the subject matter too, filled with attitude and swagger. The harmonies/gang vocaled “yeah’s” building up through the verse feel straight out of the 70s punk scene and sound really awesome. It’s an interesting, old school decision to use a guitar melody/solo instead of a vocal line, too, but one that I think surprisingly works well here. It’s a damn catchy melody, after all, one that will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The chorus lead also transitions so well back into the intro riff, the song having an awesome flow to it throughout. We also get a pretty decent solo to close out the song. It’s slightly repetitive but fits perfectly with the genre and style of the music. A great start and a great introduction to this band!
Mr Block fades in with another heavily brit pop inspired guitar riff, heavy and grungy. The guitar carries on with a similar riff through the verse this time instead of dropping out, giving it a fuller, more modern feel to it. The vocals are again delivered with attitude, and the slight distortion on them does so much to add to the gritty feel of the song. This song has a vocal led chorus too, and it’s awesome. Catchy, energetic and easy to sing along to and join in with, something I’d love to see live when all of this year’s mess is over! The lyrics are punk AF, too, as is any song that has the opportunity to scream “we don’t care!” In it. They mix it up going into the second verse, not only doing the always awesome drop out to just vocals, but when the instruments kick back in the guitar is absent again, leaving just drums and bass. It adds a huge different layer to the song and keeps the listener interested throughout, real great stuff. The instruments drop down a little coming out of the second chorus, palm muting and lighter, simpler drumming. The riff being played between the guitar is awesome too, technically great and heavy too, reminiscent of Muse or even someone like Black Sabbath. I liked this one even more than the first song, and it definitely made the playlist!
Crazy Driver opens on a great little isolated guitar riff before exploding into a huge punky riff once the rest of the band join in. The verse reigns it back a little, bringing back the awesome intro riff in the background but in a higher octave, a subtle but awesome addition. More punky lyrics and delivery too, of course, from Paul. The chorus is again massively catchy, especially with the huge backing vocals adding so much power to the lyrics. It feels very brit pop again, almost like a heavier Oasis kind of vibe. This second verse and chorus are much of the same this time, but the subtle backing vocal call and response during the verse sounded great, for some reason reminding me a lot of Nirvana’s early stuff. They keep it heavy coming out of the second chorus, a great little building up solo from the guitar before it explodes back into another huge chorus. They drop it back down after that, heavy, low drumbeats and bass again, sounding really great. They build up with some great guitar addition and psychedelic noises. However, in my opinion, it doesn’t go on long enough. They had an awesome thing going with the drums and bass and they could have easily kept that going and built it up even more through another few bars. It also then heads into yet another chorus, which is beginning to feel a tad repetitive at this point. Both are very minor gripes and it is still an excellent song, it is merely something different I’d have done if I’d been working on it! Still, I can’t really complain too much about hearing that awesome chorus yet again. Damn good stuff.
Flying Sapiens the final song on the EP, starts off heavy, with a low, palm muted guitar riff. It again builds up until the other two members explode into the song too, keeping it heavy with big, simple drums and low bass. The same riff continues on through the verse but, again the highlight of it is the great backing vocals repeating Paul’s leads, emphasising each lyric so well. The song builds into a steady verse, the same tempo as the verse, and reminds me even more of Oasis than the previous songs. While not quite as catchy as the last couple of chorus’, this one still does its job very well. The band then goes back into that awesome riff from the opening, definitely the highlight of the song so far for me, especially when the higher bass notes shine through. It is again much of the same through the following verse and chorus before they drop it back down to that palm muted opening guitar riff again. It then builds into a heavier, sludgier version of the other opening riff, very much pulling a page out of Muse’s book but doing it so well. Heck, even the solo that comes in over the top gives out massive Matt Bellamy vibes. It’s the heaviest part of the album and honestly a huge highlight. They head into a final chorus before hitting a huge, heavy outro riff too. The heavy parts of this song may be my favourite part of this EP.
Overall, I enjoyed this a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. I’m not the biggest fan of brit pop or psychedelic music, so when I saw those descriptions combined with inspirations like Oasis and Nirvana, my heart sank. However, these guys definitely wear their inspirations on their sleeves but do it in such a way it incorporates the best bits of those bands and styles and blends it all into a heavy, punk sound. I’m excited to see where these guys go in the future and can’t wait to hear a full album from them!
The review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths