Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Marshes - Fledgling (1996 Grass Records)

Not only does the Marshes’ Fledgling LP stand as one of my favorite albums of the ‘90s, it‘s sheer quality alone provided justification for the proliferation and exploration of punk/pop-punk in an era that was so abundant with poseurs and also-rans. Based in Amherst, Massachusetts, this phenomenal trio unleashed this standout debut full length, rivaled only by the likes of Jawbreaker and Samiam. Though they didn’t necessitate any sort of pedigree, The Marshes benefited from the inclusion of a recognizably named drummer in their ranks, Colin Sears of Dag Nasty, fame. The real stars here however are mouthpiece/bassist Emil Busi, and crack guitarist, Steven Wardlaw.

With speedy, careening guitar leads, heightened melodicism, and some of the most curious and provocative lyrics you could ever expect for an aggregation of their chosen ilk, The Marshes hit on something enormously special, just not universal. Not by a long shot unfortunately. The Marshes ostensible appreciation for Jawbreaker pervades much, if not all of Fledgling, but even Blake S. and Co weren’t capable of staying up to speed with Busi’s quick, trademark wit. The opener, “Offshore,” inspired by a fantasized takeover of Earth by aquatic life, is worth the price of admission alone, but this album ceaselessly vaults from one sky-high crescendo to another – “Anniversary,” “Intelligentsia,” “Little Napoleon,” and more.

Following the album's twelve “proper” tracks, is a goofball trifecta, the most substantive cut being “Sandy,” a mock hair-metal ballad committed to fairly convincing effect. The Marshes would record two more albums, Pox On the Tracks and Recluse, both on the more than respectable
Dr. Strange Records.

01. Offshore
02. Flat Out
03. Obnoxious
04. Benefit Street
05. Anniversary
06. Shadow
07. Intelligentsia
08. Little Napoleon
09. Cliff
10. The Puppy and the Smokestack
11. Slump
12. Goat Song
13. Wicked Hardcore
14. Go Mark Go
15. Sandy


Brandon said...

Thanks a lot.
I uploaded the 1995 self-titled Sike Records EP.

Phil said...

Yay, I love The Marshes. Been friends with Emile a long time now...In fact my head is the cover of Recluse(as well as my hands and beaker/test tube)

Cracked Headtube said...

The CD was nearly worned out by my SOny stereo, and computer's CD-Rom in 96. It still get a regular rotation in my musical mix. It truly defined my musical taste back-then. I was never able to find Pox, unfortunatly. And now my Pandora Player doesn't even recognize the group.

Patrick said...

Awesome! Thank you so much. I have this album on vinyl, but lack a method for transferring it to a digital format. I don't think there is any other band that I saw as many times as I saw the Marshes between 1995 and 1997.

To Cracked Headtube: go to the Dr. Strange website. They have Pox on the Tracts on vinyl and CD for a dollar each. Another awesome album from a sadly overlooked (and incredibly friendly) band.

fastluck said...

I'll never get tired of Fledgling or the s/t record. I wasn't as into their later releases though.

Stupid Thought of the Day said...

YES! Been listening to this album here in Oregon since its release on Grass Records! Bought their other albums over the years, but this stands as their greatest achievement. It rocks from beginning to end. And the fact that most of the lyrics are based on H.P. Lovecraft novels, and that hollywood recently filmed a Lovecraft film here in Oregon (cthulhu) is kinda cool.

Hungry Native said...

I used to work with Emil, quite a character

Scraps said...

My god, thank you so much. You are a marvel, apparently for years; I just discovered this. Many many listens to look forward to!

Unknown said...

Any chance of re-upping the self titled?

spavid said...

The link has been updated.

ezweave said...

Offshore, and most of the other songs on the record are Lovecraft inspired. Offshore, I think, is basically about C'Thulu rising up and all that, from his slumber under the ocean. It makes it all weirder and more wonderful.

Unknown said...

Great album!!