3 out of 5
Produced by: Mark Allan Miller, The Marshes
Label: Evade Records
The Marshes have some roots in Dag Nasty, and that DIY, raw ethos is alive and well on the group’s debut. Which is to say that there’s not much to differentiate it from the pack of then-peers. The sweaty energy is apparent, and the dudes’ sync up well for a tight playing style; if you were a fan of other DC punker bands of the era or were impressed by a live show, you’d undoubtedly be pleased by this disc.
Without that initial good will, there’s maybe not as much to initially grab onto, though. However, there are moments that suggest the tweaks to come that would result in The Marshes’ brilliantly unique sound: opener I Am Providence’s breakdown is pure fury, calling forward to some of Fledgling‘s arrangements, and the odd off-key the gang vocal callouts of Summer Fun became a glorious Marshes staple. Little pleasing bits like this pepper each and every track, but that’s in retrospect; the songs are quality and catchy, but otherwise hew to a more standard punkiness. Beneath’s full throttle is a latter-half reminder of The Marshes’ potential (think Pox‘s energy), and maybe one of the few tracks to stick to the H.P. Lovecraft vibe.
As a fan, I’m glad to own this, but I can hear that I’m equally glad it wasn’t my first Marshes experience, lest I’d’ve likely set the band aside.