My Airpods broke…
I’ve escaped back up North to the family home for lockdown, so the dynamics of listening to music have changed. Gone of the days where I can listen to music laid in bed without my little brother asking if I want a fight. It’s not all bad, though, there’s a hammock here; well fitted to Marlin’s Dreaming and their second album Quotidian.
Cabbage Tree enters with a lacklustre drum machine on its last legs. But the doubletracked vocals of Semisi Maiai and dulcet guitars hint that there’s more power in hiding. There is. The mellow tone of Maiai continues over the chorus and is hugged by the other, now much larger, sounds of the band. The song finishes with more presence than the start and confidently kicks things off.
This lackadaisical approach is prevalent throughout the album. The lighthearted sounds almost mock the pressing lyrics that haunt each song.
Sidenote: Being from the UK, I had a completely different image in my head to what a cabbage tree actually looks like… It is not a literal ‘cabbage’ tree. Apparently, they’re Torquay palm over here.
It’s a good job that the melodies are so soothing in Outward Crying. There’s enough to take the sting out of the words allowing you to follow the no-holds-barred spill of emotion that would have you down a similar path otherwise.
In Alike you’re met with a laugh as fake as when someone says they don’t eat rabbit food as they skip the salad. You’re hit with more conviction. The driving energy brings the irritated internal conflict in the lyrics to the forefront in this introspective tour.
Almost woozy, but propped up and guided by Maiai, Lick the Brains is a belter. You stagger your way through the first verse into a heady chorus that sounds so relatable. It’s boomy. It’s massive. It’s bloody marvellous.
Sink or Swim is another brutally frank song about the pain of being disconnected and vacant in social situations and in life. It’s also another that you’d be necking pints to at a festival. An art the band has nailed. Its anthem-esque chorus will be a hit for many this summer, even with the lack of live events.
The group from New Zealand bring a large presence to the stage following on from their debut album, Lizard Tears – despite writing about a lack of it.
If you know Marlin’s Dreaming, you’ll notice a subtle pop vibe throughout their work. In Colourful Disarray, it’s less subtle. A fluctuant and more expressive vocal lead with a marching drum beat makes you feel rather jolly – for lack of a better word. But don’t be fooled, the lyrics powering it are much less… jolly.
False Start has a detuned synth (there’s probably a correct term for that, but I couldn’t find it on Google) with a similar tone to your Yamaha keyboard’s default – but it works. And that is the difference between Marlin’s Dreaming and me; they can make a default sounding synth into a dreamy lullaby and I can’t.
On the topic of default sounds, nothing else is. In OUTRISTIC Pt. 1, you’ve got a thumpy bass drum with ever-distant guitars driving past and the same lost, yet at home, feel that forms the cornerstone of the album.
The group definitely get more experimental as the album plays through. With OUTRISTIC Pt. 2 you’ve got an evil undertone. Distorted guitars and only a few lyrics gradually repeated with more force.
Mr. Sun is a solid tune. A summery, daydream anthem. An acoustic representation of hope. I don’t know if this is strange or not, but I’ve noticed that I tend to listen to music visually. I dream about things. Plan things. Replay things. But there is always a soundtrack that triggers them. Some more than others and this is one of them.
Please let me know if you do this too.
You realise that you’ve been on a journey with the band when you reach Moth Eyes. A climactic track that majestically suits no other position in the album.
Filling in Time concludes Quotidian. It’s a hard-hitting finisher, with perhaps the deepest lyrics of the album. There are no upbeat melodies or distorted guitars to mask them here though. No, these lyrics pierce through the spacey instruments and make you listen. An instrumental wall of sound that has you floating before it comes to an abrup…