Friday, August 8, 2008

Review: Marching Band - Spark Large (* * * * 1/2)

I've been telling everyone within earshot to listen to this new duo from Sweden. Marching Band might seem like a misleading moniker for two guys that play pop-folk music, but they've managed to create a sound that while lacking in brass, still feels like an explosion of sound, melodies, and ideas. I imagine it won't be long before these guys break into the music scene (at least the indie scene) in a big way.

Rarely does an album contain so many catchy melodies and beautiful harmonies. Everything is bright and sparkling; this is music custom-made for sunny summer days. Each song is layered with vocals and plenty of instruments to the point of saturation, but Marching Band manage to exercise just enough restraint to keep the music from becoming tacky or overdone. Although primarily a guitar/drum duo, a variety of instruments make appearances throughout the album. Keyboards, banjo, steel drums, etc; you never know quite what to expect.

Lyrically, Marching Band keeps things simple. Topics range from long-distance relationships (Letters) to fixing relationships (Travel In Time), to longing for a relationship (Everything, Make No Plans, For Your Love). That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not exactly diverse. However, the lyrics are generally clever and well-phrased. You'll be too busy enjoying the four-part vocal harmonies and hummable melodies anyway.

Bottom line: Spark Large is an amazingly composed pop album and one of my favorite records this year. For those that don't mind an extra strong dose of sugary sweetness in their musical diet, this is a must-have before the summer comes to a close.

Favorite Tracks: Gorgeous Behavior (one of the best songs of the year), Travel In Time, Aggravate


Octavia said...

You write very well.