Album Review: “The Gold Standard” by Chicago band, Marrow

Marrow has been in MFL’s ears all summer long and has built itself a home there. This record required a good amount of attention, more than some I’d say. It is a complicated piece of musical work. The Gold Standard does not do what you think it will do or sound the way you think it will. Marrow was started by teenagers who were classically trained in music and were part of a hip-hop rock project prior to Marrow’s inception. Though you cannot hear any hint of hip-hop influences the mesh of musical genres in their previous band clearly influenced the group’s creativity and caused them to be daring with their songwriting. Songs unexpectedly change time, mood and vocalists.

Here is the first single and title track off the record. It’s also the song that sold me on Marrow:

Along with the title track, there are other epic tracks on this record. Songs that take you on a 5, 6 or even 8 minute journey. “Ocean of Glory” is a celebratory track that flips from a sing-songy folk track to a more distorted and psychedelic track. At first listen, I thought they were two different songs and I’d be curious to hear the band’s thought process on writing this song.

The opening track, “She Chose You”, is short and simple, riding the classic sound of indie rock whereas “Darling Divine” takes a bizarre and powerful hold of you.

“Leave Grounds Stay” is easily my favorite piece on the record. It begins in a dark place.

There’s a devil in my bones,

Everyday I feel him grow.

The man I wanna be he just doesn’t know

But I can’t let him go.

With these words, strange echos come in and out of earshot in the background, the bass shrouding the song with darkness. However, an acoustic guitar sneaks in now and then, adding an air of brevity which becomes apparent when both vocalists come in together. This dance occurs throughout the song, from darkness to light, tugging between the devil inside and what this character wants and knows he can be. “Leave Ground Stay” is a prime example of what Marrow has accomplished, creating a truly unique style they can call their own.

The Gold Standard came out September 4th on Foxhall Records. It is available for purchase on iTunes.

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