“Marriages are set to release their debut full-length, Salome, and it is a MASSIVE leap forward — from Red Sparowes, from Kitsune, from Some Heavy Ocean. It’s the best thing any of these guys has ever been involved with, and one of my favorite albums of early 2015.” – Stereogum
One might compare the sound to PJ Harvey teaming up with Tool in 1995 to cover Mazzy Star – but you should skip comparison entirely as Marriages isn’t quite like anything else.” – ALARM
Back in Los Angeles, Marriages spent the end of 2014 completing Salome, a timeless 9-song monolith of a debut LP. Propulsive, frequently iridescent, the compositions on Salome are confident and evocative, the sound of a band focusing their strengths to great effect. Nowhere is this focus more evident than on opening track, “The Liar”. Frontwoman Rundle wastes no time settling into a haunting earworm of a riff, before unleashing a moody tangle of slides and reverb. Her breathy voice, veiled in subtle effects, elicits irresistible curiosity; though it may not always be clear what she’s saying, there’s undeniably something to the way she’s saying it. Bubbling just under the surface is the overdriven bass of fellow Sparowes alum Greg Burns, who conjures a menacing rumble from his instrument in glorious contrast to the glassy needles of Rundle’s wailing guitar.
Second track, “Skin”, is perhaps even more infectious, to the point where becoming engulfed in the emotional tide of the song is simply unavoidable. Its indelible chorus is one of the album’s most iconic passages. Here, especially, Marriages wear their influences on their sleeves, a convincing amalgamation of mid-eighties postpunk (Cocteau Twins, The Cure, etc.) and what ought to be called poststonermetal. Their shoegaze aesthetic combined with Rundle’s crushing riffs make Marriages unique among their contemporaries.
The tumbling urgency of “Southern Eye” could fit comfortably on Echo and the Bunnymen’s Heaven Up Here yet somehow sits squarely within the realm of Sargent House labelmates Russian Circles. Elsewhere, Marriages toy with a pop approach before invariably releasing a torrent of cascading noise, though never enough to bury the hook they’ve so cleverly constructed. Title track “Salome” is the album’s centre piece. An ominous, otherworldly swell of emotional waxing and waning, it finds Rundle at her most vulnerable, strokes of Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor writ large over a canvas of brooding, fuzz-pedal density.
Comparatively subdued, though by no means anemic, “Contender” closes the album on a tentative note, its unresolved final chord a sobering wake-up suddenly casting doubt on the probability of the previous 43 minutes. Throwing open the curtains on not only their sound but on their songwriting as well, Rundle, Burns, and now Clinco seem perfectly at ease scaling anthemic peaks and heartbreaking valleys, often in a single composition. Salome finds Marriages fully embracing their skill at crafting timeless songs with chillingly epic results.
Salome will be released 7th April on Sargent House.