It is safe to say we’ve all heard the phrase “When in Rome…” and your probably just said to yourself: “do as Romans do.”
And if this were applied to the music scene today we’d be inundated with a bunch of music that all sounds exactly the same. You know, like a bunch of young, spoiled rich kids touting talent and originality when the average person couldn’t differentiate one from the other. Basically everything would sound the same and most would be inclined to continue this terrible trend.
Thankfully it doesn’t! Right?
Well if it did all sound the same than Boise, Idaho’s Marshall Poole would be a sound in a class all its own. Their culmination of obvious hard work, raw, pure sound, and mind-blowing tracks will immediately put anyone who believes mainstream music is unique in their place.
The trio of Melanie Radford, Rider Soran, and Michael Hoobery (with the help of Seth Graham and Bijoux) hand delivered Totems, as if a gift during a season of giving, just in time to be an incredibly strong consideration for everyone’s year end lists.
With a fuzzy, grinding presence, not to mention only four of the eleven tracks coming in at less than four minutes, the psychedelic rock sound of Marshall Poole humbly marches its way into addictive REALLY fast. From the opener “Evil Eye,” Totems is hell-bent on redefining expectations with gnarly solos and a sound that is as big on record as it surely is live. Poole have somehow managed to bottle the intensity and sound of an overwhelmingly memorable live set you just happen to stumble upon, the kind that will make you a fan for life, into digital format. So much so, I actually received looks for pumping my fists in the air and singing along to “Damnit, Don’t Do Me Wrong”. Apparently this is frowned upon in an office setting. I offered to share my headphones but people refused. I digress.
The wall of sound style encapsulated with Totems is probably best found about midway through the album with “Wandering Eyes” and “Doctor’s Son”. The former being a nearly seven-minute transcendence of not just the Boise music scene, but of modern indie rock. The latter, culminates in a punk-esc style that is ferocious and driving. From drifting, if not haunting at times, vocals paired with wandering atmosphere to a battle-axe, take-no-shit-from-no one aggressive sound, Marshall Poole instantly goes from a “neat, I’ll check this out” to soap box sidewalk preaching of the good word of Poole.
I won’t lie, Marshall Poole is the type of band that gives hope to those who feel music is losing ground. Their fuzzy, from-the-soul sound compliments an originality that is vividly tenacious and equally addicting. When all modern music seems to be lackluster and Mumfording, this record is a massive right hook poised to knock them square on their ass. With just days left in the year, almost as if on purpose, Totems parks squarely on my top ten and I don’t doubt it will yours as well.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor to Nanobot Rock. He is a strong supporter of local, independent music and his local Boise scene.