Marvins Revolt – Patrolling the Heights

ELEPHANT BIRD! Band – Marvins Revolt
Album – Patrolling The Heights
Label – Richter Collective
Release date – November 2009
Sounds like – Sweeping Danish indie-rock bursting with melody.

Marvin. Sounds like the name of the poor bastard bully-magnet at school. You know the one – he carried a briefcase, had sellotaped glasses, smelt of cheese crisps and was head of the science club. Alternatively he could be a Martian who has an intense dislike for a furry carrot-munching mammal. I suppose though picking a geeky, possibly unlikeable-sounding name works. Look at the Melvins – named after some dude who Buzz Osbourne used to work with and hated with a fiery passion and they’re one of the most almost grunge-metal-what-the-fuck bands in the world!

Marvins Revolt seems an unusual choice of signing for the Richter Collective – an Irish record label that has provided the deranged ‘spaceship-being destroyed’ splatter-rock of Adebisi Shank and the dance-punk/monster obsessed ramblings of BATS and the rough-shuddering stomp of Hands Up Who Wants To Die. However, there’s nothing like a smattering of diversity in the ranks to escape the notion that your label only caters in mangling eardrums and Marvins Revolt add just that. Originally the band (then a four-piece) catered a more noise-rock approach. However, 2 albums down the line and a member down, they now focus their energies in a different musical direction. Whilst their previous material may have more to my tastes, the songs on ‘Patrolling The Heights’ tap into that softer side of my psyche that favours the more melodramatic side of rock, that focuses on layered instrument-progression, haunting vocals and rich drum textures.

Opening track, ‘Siberian Outer Boundries’ blends the atmospheric wash of a lone man, pouring his heart out in deserted church; his voice bouncing off the hard stone walls, whilst the passive guitar strumming supports his hushed tones perfectly. It morphs swiftly into second track ‘Siberia’ under this mellow haze, before kicking into a simple, yet strong drum march, that builds on a deliberate, pounding rhythm of stomping feet. The guitarist deviates from intriguing time signatures, to standard indie-rock strumming at each drum roll and pause, building on a more progressive and slightly-heavier nature as the track comes to a conclusion. The vocals rise and soar with youthful eloquence and the accompanying synthesised backing is a delight.

The juddering build of guitars on ‘Antique Markers’ gives a rough, punk-influenced edge, that dissipates beneath the soothing flow of those haunting vocals and jerky drum beats. There’s a distinct fuzz of washed-out noise pop within their somewhat erratic sound that holds everything together, like parcel tape. ‘Patrolling The Heights’ has that feeling of a gentle mish-mash of styles and influences, all making themselves know in a rather timid way, that gradually builds in confidence, before departing without over-staying their welcome. ‘Organize Your Arms’ is perhaps a perfect example of this. One minute it’s all angular spikes of indie rock blades; the next it’s bouncing along with a distinct Beach Boys-summers-day vibe of plinking keyboards, exuberant high-fives and gang vocal choruses.

Doctors, Hospitals’ sounds like something that should be sound-tracking the next eccentric, indie-film by Wes Anderson, or Juno 2, with its gentle, rising introduction, twee-pop guitar-twangs, vocal harmonies that eventually flow into the rushed, yet luscious musical dexterity of spiralling heavy guitar rock and throbbing drum hits. However, it’s the kind of ramshackle ambitious attempts such as ‘Like Wires’ with its mellow string postscript and sweeping grace that really make Marvins Revolt stand out.

It’s difficult to find any fault musically ”“ despite some parts feeling scattered; they tie nicely together through an excellent build up of well constructed tunes and arrangements. The vocal-tone seems incredibly young and earnest, as though they’re desperate to please, but passionate, with this eager sense of self belief and optimism. Well worth investigating.

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Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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