Marriages is a post-punk/indie/stoner-rock trio from Los Angeles. They formed in 2012 after their LA post-rock band Red Sparowes dissolved. Emma Ruth Rundle (guitar/vocals) and Greg Burns (bass/keys) started the band alongside their Red Sparowes drummer Dave Clifford, and they released the well received Kitsune EP in late 2012. Since then, they’ve enlisted an outside drummer called Andrew Clinco.
The band spent the better part of 2014 working on their 9-song debut album, which they had hoped to release in the autumn. It’s finally ready, and it’ll be released on April 7 via Sargent House Records, which is also home to Red Sparowes and some other bands on the heavier end of the post-rock spectrum: Boris, Russian Circles, and also to that metal/noise/whatever band Deafheaven.
I knew about Red Sparowes, but I didn’t know that they had branched off into other things. I didn’t even know about Marriages until I got something in the mail bag the other day.
In its pre-release media push, this album is getting a lot of positive buzz. They’re saying that while this isn’t very much like Red Sparowes, or even very much like their 2012 EP, it’s clear to see and hear the growth in the band. Stereogum has said that this is the best thing anyone in the band has ever done. And that’s saying a lot.
The band say that the new Marriages sound is influenced by a lot of the 70s/80s British goth and post-punk heavies: The Cure, Siouxie & The Banshees, the Cocteaus, Echo & The Bunnymen. In this song, I actually hear something a little different. I hear a lot of Ride in this song. In the first ten seconds anyway.
This is that song:
In the intro, I think specifically of the breathtaking Ride song “Drive Blind” (1990, from the Ride EP). The notes played aren’t the same, but the blueprint is. Start with some single guitar notes played on the high e string, then the drums come splashing in, then the bass comes in like a huge rumble of thunder. It’s that intro that absolutely makes the song “Drive Blind” so brilliant. In this song, there’s a lot more going on after that. And after that, it doesn’t sound very much like Ride. Some of the drum fills, maybe, but that’s about it. But it’s worth pointing out about the intro.
I love how this song has a lot of different textures to it. After that tiny intro, there’s a bit more instrumental stuff before the vocals come in. During that 45 seconds or so, everyone is on and it’s fuzzy and dark and shoegazey. Once Rundle’s vocals come in, everything calms down. It’s minimal. It’s brighter. It’s beautiful. Then the chorus comes, and it’s back to that fuzzy, dark, heavy stuff that requires muscle. Around 2:17, it gets a lot grittier and a lot darker. More muscle required. 3:15, there’s that gentle part from the intro again, and at 3:22, it gets right back into the super-gritty, heavy bit. It all happens seamlessly and it’s nothing short of magic.
With each repeated listen, I like this song more, and I’ll be very much looking forward to the April 7 album release.