Far from the dreary existence of the polarized landscape we call the modern social climate exists a place where individuals craft visions of what they want to hear that paint landscapes of imagination so vivid and grand they seemingly take you out of your very presence and elevate you to another plane. Though it lives in a colorful array of sound waves, to reach this audible Eden is not as difficult to find as one may think. And the best way to get there may be to dive into the deep end of Marshall Poole.
Following up their mesmerizingly bombshell debut release Totems (2015), the Boise, Idaho based psych-rooted rock band shifts gears and moves over a few lanes in the noticeably different sophomore release Pasadena.
Now many people will begin to shrug and roll their eyes citing sequels are never quite as good as the original, but in the vein of Godfather II and T2, this gem of eleven tracks is undoubtedly another exception to the rule.
Occasionally borrowing the glow of Steve Howe, Pasadena forgoes the deeply punk fuzzy, grinding sound of Totems while maintaining that bold sense of Marshall Poole. The richness exuded in Pasadena reveals a level of Marshall Poole most had no idea to anticipate when we first dipped our toes into their well of sound.
Out of the gate, “Psychedelicious” offers an airy blend of vintage psych ambiance paired sweetly with spacey licks that will have your ears confused as to which decade this was released. Notions of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer fade as we branch into a more familiar Poole in “Rebirth” and their lead single “So It Goes.” But as most lead singles go, they can be deceptive to the overall arch. “Chasing Down the Sun,” driving home Poole is here “for all the laughter and weepers/for all the planters and reapers/for all the dead headed dreamers,” drops us back into this new blend that is, at its soul, still very much Poole. This is supported, possibly best, by the over-seven-minute anchor point to Pasadena, “The Zephyr”. The complexity, layers, and blends of “Zephyr” should, in and of itself, be enough to want to see this band live and buy this record immediately.
The seemingly endless abyss of artistic vision we experience in Pasadena profoundly educates us to the fact, we know little-to-nothing about the limits of Marshall Poole and that is something to celebrate. The forty-plus minute psych-cerebral dream sophomore release from Marshall Poole lifts us from our foundation and masterfully delivers a much-needed escape.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor of Nanobot Rock.