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.
02. Flat Out
04. Benefit Street
08. Little Napoleon
10. The Puppy and the Smokestack
12. Goat Song
13. Wicked Hardcore
14. Go Mark Go